Exotic African cow with an incomprehensible name Watusi became famous for not big food and not tasty meat. These animals among cattle are valued for almost the biggest horns in the world. In their homeland in Africa, Watusi are called royal bulls, and in most areas the breed is equated to sacred animals. In most of the black continent, bulls with sumptuous horns are called ankole, but in Russian they are known as vatussi (by association with an African Tutsi tribe).
A bit of history
There are several versions of where this African bull came from. The Africans themselves insist that Watusi is an independent ancient breed, whose history goes back about 6,000 years. Allegedly the progenitor of horned beauties was a relic wild bull.
According to another version, swarms appeared on the continent about 4,000 years ago. And here already their wild parents, Egyptian cows and humpback Indian zebu cows are considered their forebears. Fans of this view are based on the similarity of images found in the Egyptian pyramids, and African rock paintings.
Genetic studies show that the truth is somewhere in the middle. Indeed, traces of Indian zebu, wild tours and Egyptian cows were found in the genes of Watusi. But scientists have not yet been able to build a clear chain and reasonably prove the priority of a particular branch.
Naturally, the most prominent value of the breed are horns. At the main part of the livestock of cows, the distance between the tips of the horns fluctuates around one and a half meters. But on good pastures, bulls are quite common, with horns reaching 2.5 m.
Giant horn for cows are something of an air conditioner. The blood circulating through them is cooled, thereby maintaining the optimum body temperature of the animal, which is very important for Africa.
Height of 170 cm for this breed of cows is considered the norm, the recorded maximum length of the body - 2.6 m. Surprisingly, with such parameters, the weight of the average livestock is not very large. Bulls gain up to 850 kg, while the maximum for cows is 550 kg. It will be interesting to find out other numbers:
- the weight of newborn calves is 16-23 kg;
- gestation time - about 10 months;
- puberty in young occurs after 2 years;
- cow gives birth - 1-2 babies;
- on average, Watusi live - 27-30 years.
From the point of view of the Russian and European animal husbandry, these cows are rather exotic than industrial. According to the generally accepted classification, the breed is closer to meat and pigtails. To seriously talk about some kind of milkiness does not make sense at all. The yield of cows for the year barely reach 1500 liters. For breeding purposes, the Vatussi began to be used in the USA, but no one has yet heard of some kind of super-powerful breakthrough.
In Africa itself, the breed population is steadily declining. This is due to the savage, in our opinion, milking method. Before milking, a calf is allowed in to the cow, and as soon as he begins to eat, the baby is torn off and sacked milk for personal use. As a result, most calves die from disease and exhaustion.
In many African tribes, it is believed that the blood of the Vatussi gives some supernatural abilities and gives strength. Therefore, bloodletting was put there on the stream. Up to 4 liters of blood is collected from one animal per month.
The weight of one horn of watusi comes to 45 kg, and in many African tribes these horns are used as a monetary unit, and hunters consider such horns to be an expensive trophy.
The largest population of this species of cattle lives in central Africa. The Tutsi tribe, from which the name went, lives on the territory of the Republic of Congo and actively breeds these cows. In addition to them, Burundi and Rwanda are famous for their large herds. There are still small herds in some zoos in Europe and in Ukraine in the reserve Askania Nova.
At the beginning of the 70s of the last century, an American enthusiast named Walter Schulz brought several such livestock heads to his ranch and began breeding and breeding. The American herd now reaches 1500 heads. It was from him that a vatussi bull came out named Larch, which was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest horns.
Now beautiful animals with giant horns are considered one of the attractions of the African continent. Many famous zoos in the world tend to get themselves such a handsome man. But, despite all the efforts, the population of Watusi cows is falling.
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