As a result of these findings—and looming demand—the ILRI is urging action to preserve native breeds. Among its recommendations: encourage local farmers to maintain local types of livestock; share breeds across borders (particularly when breeds are likely to be suited to specific regions due to certain adaptive traits, such as a need for less water); and establish a gene bank—similar to the regional seed banks that preserve crop diversity—to maintain this genetic heritage.
The greatest part of genetic heritage—and the largest numbers of livestock in general—are concentrated in the developing world. While some gene banks exist in developed regions, Sere says that more—and broader—banks will also be needed in the rest of the world. "It is not good enough for southern countries to depend on the North to be custodians of their livestock genetic material," he says. "The fastest and most effective route through which the North can make a contribution [to diversity] is to assist developing nations to establish capacity to save endangered breeds in these countries."