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The Ankole-Watusi Cattle Breed

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Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 5:42 pm

The Ankole-Watusi, one of the Sanga group, is a 6,000-year-old breed of cattle native to Africa. Its large, distinctive horns can reach up to eight feet from tip to tip and are used for defense.

They weigh from nine hundred to sixteen hundred pounds. Traditionally, Ankole-Watusi cattle were considered sacred, providing food, currency and tribal status.

These cattle supplied milk to their owners and were rarely used for meat production since an owner's wealth was counted in live animals.

Those with the largest and longest horns, some measured twelve feet from tip to tip, belonged to the kings, which accounts for the title of "Cattle of Kings".

In the 1960s, Walter Schultz imported the first Watusi cattle to America, two bulls from Scandinavia and a female from Europe.

Due to the efforts of zoos and breeders such as Vincent Browning, the Ankole-Watusi are no longer consider endangered. A Watusi steer named Lurch is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest horn circumference.

The Egyptian pyramids have pictographs of these "Hamitic Longhorn" that eventually migrated with their owners from the Nile Valley to Ethiopia to the southern part of Africa.

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