Did you know that certain species of cattle are endangered? Many people don’t think of cattle as being endangered, but some even face critical endangerment just like the Sumatran tiger or Mexican spider monkey. Here at Nashville Zoo, the two devon steers at the Grassmere Historic Farm are considered critically endangered due to modern farming techniques and selective cattle breeding. This type of cattle is, therefore, categorized as a heritage breed.
Heritage breeds are traditional livestock animals that have been established for centuries and were common prior to industrial agriculture practices. 11 species of livestock are categorized as heritage breeds: donkeys, cattle, goats, horses, sheep, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.
At Nashville Zoo, we have several heritage breeds:
The conservation of heritage breeds is vital because it:
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