ANN/ THE NATION THAILAND – Generations of water buffaloes have been raised for the past 250 years in the Thale Noi Wetland of Phatthalung province, which recently received United Nations (UN) recognition.
Deputy government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek said on Saturday that the folk wisdom of raising buffaloes in the wetlands has been passed on from generation to generation.
On November 4, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognised Thale Noi Wetland in the southern province as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) – Thailand’s first of its kind. “The Thale Noi Wetland Buffalo Pastoral Agro-Eco-System is a diversified farming system marked by longstanding interaction between humans and buffaloes,” the FAO said on its website.
The selection criteria for GIAHS sites include global importance that is beneficial to the public, agro-biodiversity, supports food and livelihood security, knowledge systems, social values and culture, as well as outstanding landscapes.
Rachada said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was delighted by the recognition.
“He is pleased that Thai folk wisdom and culture passed on for generations has received international recognition. This reflects the fact that Thai heritage is valuable,” Rachada said.
Thale Noi Wetland is one of the 52 remaining GIAHS sites across the world related to the water buffalo, the spokesperson added. She said more than 3,500 buffaloes are raised in Thale Noi, which has been declared a non-hunting area.
Thale Noi buffaloes are raised either free-range or sheltered in pens only at night. Herders lead their animals out to graze through flooded fields and bring them back before nightfall.
The buffaloes have adapted for survival on land that is flooded for almost five months of the year.