Raramuri Criollo

The Rarámuri Criollo is a landracebiotype of Criollo cattle indigenous to the Sierra Tarahumara region of the Copper Canyon, Mexico.[1][2] In 2005 a small group was introduced to the Jornada Experimental Range (JER) in New Mexico, in the United States for scientific study.[1][3]

Mexican breed or type of Criollo cattle
Raramuri Criollo
Conservation status Research
Country of origin United States and Mexico
Distribution New Mexico, Chihuahua, California, Utah, South Dakota
Use Beef
Traits
Weight
  • Male:
    620 kg
  • Female:

    370 kg
Horn status Lyre
Raramuri Criollo Bulls at the Jornada Experimental Research Range, NM, USA.

. . . Raramuri Criollo . . .

Rarámuri Criollo cattle are descendants of the first cattle brought to Mexico by Hernán Cortés and Villalobos.[1] Until recently, this biotype was geographically isolated between Chínipas and Témoris, Chihuahua in the remote Rio Oteros region of the Copper Canyon, home to the Tarahumara.[1] The Tarahumara, who also call themselves Rarámuri, meaning “fleet foot”,[4] have raised this biotype for over 400 years. The Rarámuri Criollo has seen little artificial selection and is suspected to have little-to-no genetic introgression from outside breeds, therefore scientists consider it important to preserve their unique genetic and behavioral characteristics.[1]

The Rarámuri Criollo has characteristic lyratehorns like those of its ancestors and exhibits a wide variety of coat colors. It is generally smaller than other beef breeds, but is large among North American Criollo cattle. Rarámuri Criollo are very sexually dimorphic and typically cows weigh 370 kg (816 lbs), while bulls can weigh more than 620 kg (1367 lbs).[5] Currently, no registered breed association exists for the biotype, but they are regarded as an individual among other Criollo cattle.[1][6][7]

In collaborative ethologicalscientific studies between the USDAARS‘s JER and New Mexico State University, Rarámuri Criollo cows have consistently exhibited unique behavioral traits when compared to traditional British breeds; for instance, they tend to explore larger areas and travel further distances per day, especially in the harsh dry seasons of the American southwest.[8] These animals have also been shown to exhibit a different mothering style during early infantilecalf stages, wherein cows and calves act as “followers” (young are kept closer to the mother) as opposed to “hiders” (young are hidden or kept with a guardian cow during foraging bouts) as do British crossbreds (eg. Black Baldies).[9][10] These cattle are under continuous scientific study because these behavioral traits are suspected to be more environmentally sustainable, especially under the impending threat of climate change, than those exhibited by more traditional breeds as increased exploration, reduced water dependency, and spatial non-constraints by calving mean that cows are less likely to overuse patches of vulnerable desert vegetation thus ensuring resilience of those biological rangelandresources.[11]

. . . Raramuri Criollo . . .

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. . . Raramuri Criollo . . .

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