University Program for Saving Endangered Species

The University of Debrecen is to launch a five-year research project in cooperation with the breeders to save the black mangalica species.

The size of mangalica breeding livestock has grown during the past couple of decades from a few hundred to ten thousand. This has been made possible by the joint initiative of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Debrecen and the organization called Mangalicatenyésztők Országos Egyesülete (MOE) [National Association of Mangalica Breeders] to support this breeding activity in order to make sure that this breed ceases to be an endangered species. However, out of the four traditional mangalica breeds (Blonde, Red, Swallow-Bellied, and Black), the last one disappeared in the first third of the 20th century, and has virtually become extinct since.

“In the past fifteen years, there have been a few black individual mangalica-s in groups of swallow-bellied stock, and we have managed to generate a population of about 150 animals through selective breeding. This number is sufficient for launching a research program in order to save the species from extinction and ensure the acknowledgement of its survival,” said Péter Szabó, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Industry and Environmental Management at the University of Debrecen (DE MÉK).

This is exactly why the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Industry and Environmental Management at the University of Debrecen and National Association of Mangalica Breeders opted for a joint research program, the relevant cooperation agreement about which was signed by the leading representatives of the program on Friday at Farmer Expo.

“For us, it seemed natural to designate Debrecen and UD for the location of the research and development site of the program, since we have been connected to this institution for several decades. The university disposes of the right knowledge base and human resources, together with the potential to satisfy the requirements necessary for taking part in this kind of pioneering breed reconstruction,” said Péter Tóth, President of MOE.

“Our intention is to propagate the individual black mangalica bloodlines to such an extent that would allow for the establishment of lineages that are not closely related to one another so that we could avoid inbreeding and its unfavorable consequences. The next step is to maintain a healthy level of this population in order to achieve its recognition as a self-sustained species. In the interest of this, we design pairing and matching plans and document the valuable characteristic features of the species,” said István Komlós, Dean of DE MÉK.

During the course of the five-year program, MOE will be responsible for taking care of the organization tasks inherent in the breeding process, the marking and collection of individual species, the systematic classification of the animals, and the organization of the breeders.

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