The Ankole-Watusi is a very impressive looking type of bovine. This remarkable breed, a species of Sanga cattle, remains famous for its gargantuan horns. Sometimes (and for understandable reasons), people refer to them as the Ankole Longhorn.
In the wild, their numbers continue to decline, and consequently, the IUCN once listed them as Endangered. Their numbers later increased enough, however, that the organization subsequently removed them from the Endangered List.
It should be noted that this numerical increase occurred partly due to captive breeding practices since their horns make these impressive creatures extremely popular as show animals. This is perhaps better than just slaughtering them for their horns.
Ankole-Watusi Physical Description
With the obvious exception of their horns, the Ankole-Watusi forms a medium-sized type of cattle. Concerning size, they show a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism, a common trait among mammals.
Because of this, females typically attain a maximum weight of 1,200 lb (540 kg), males usually reach an upper-limit weight of roughly 1,600 lb (730 kg).
In color, they most typically are a solid dark brown, though some individuals may display white spots or blotches, as well.
Their most distinctive and most noteworthy feature, of course, remains the extremely large horns. These grow honeycombed with blood vessels, to aid in cooling. Nature is amazing.
The animal also often uses the horns with respectable effectiveness in defense of the individual or the young. The span of these incredible horns may be as much as 8 ft (2.4 m) from tip to tip. Now that is pretty impressive.
Ankole-Watusi Habitat, Ecology, and History
The Ankole-Watusi is endemic to the Saharan regions of Africa, so they have evolved to live in extremely hot and dry climates.
They have also adapted quite well too and subsequently established themselves in, other regions. These include Europe, Australia, and both North and South America.
These marvelous creatures have an entirely herbivorous diet, like other bovines. They consume primarily local grasses and leaves.
The entire herd sleeps together at night, with the calves placed in the center, and the bulls sleeping along the outer rim, with their horns facing outwards. Good protective strategy.
The Ankole-Watusi holds the (dubious) distinction of being one of the earliest confirmed domesticated animals. Records indicate that their domestication began at least 6,000 years ago.