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8 of the smallest animals of their kind

By: Katherine Butler on Sept. 26, 2011, 8:43 a.m.
grazing Vechur cow

Photo: Vicky Robinson/Flickr

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Vechur cow

The Vechur cow, another endangered animal, is a dwarf cow from Kerala, India. A Vechur cow male generally reaches maximum heights of almost 3 1/2 feet and weights of 440 pounds. Called the smallest cow in the world, it is valued for the high-yield and high-fat milk it produces. It became known as the ideal “backyard cow” and led to a custom in Kerala of giving the cow away as a wedding gift to a daughter. In 1997, the Vechur cow was involved in a controversy with the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. As Frontline reports, "genes from the Vechur cattle of Kerala had been patented by the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, United Kingdom … as a case of alleged international gene robbery. Yet, there is no conclusive proof that such an act of biopiracy has indeed taken place."