Over 8,000 years ago humans first domesticated Aurochs, the wild ancestor of the numerous breeds of cattle existing today. The Aurochs themselves became extinct, but their legacy lives on. For some 6000 years a group of very similar cattle have played a big role in the lives of African tribes. One of the oldest and definitely most exciting breeds of these cattle is most commonly referred to as Watusi. Also known as the Cattle of Kings, Ankole cattle, Royal Ox and in Rwanda as Insanga, “the ones which were found”, because according to tradition they had been discovered by the first kings. Exceptional individuals with huge horns are known as Inyambo, “the cows with long, long horns”.
The horns vary from lateral, almost flat growth, to an upswept arched shape known as lyre, sometimes with the tips almost touching. The horns act as a cooling system by circulating blood through to the ends of the horn to disperse the heat before returning it to the body. Watusi are stately and tall, long legged and have an extremely long, rope–like tail. They are usually a deep red or red with some white speckling, however, they also occur in black, brown, white, yellow, dun, gray and brindled as well as some heavily spotted combination of these colors. The breed is highly social, preferring to stay in a group and at night they tend to form a circle with adults lying on the outside, horns out, to protect the calves in the inner circle. With these animals you can have it all, they are as striking as antelopes, yet handle with the ease of cattle and are especially resistant to drought, heat and direct sunlight, highly tolerant to extreme conditions.
The Cattle of Kings invoke a special feeling in the hearts of those they touch and the original herd of our own beautiful cattle was bought from the Gondwana Game Reserve who imported them from the San Diego Zoo.
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