Rwanda:Beloved Ankole cattle facing extinction

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The long horned Ankole cattle found in Rwanda and Western Uganda facing extinction due to disappearing grazing grounds, according to a report by Xinhua

The Ankole cattle breed which grazes in large areas is become harder to keep due to increasing human population, which has led to reduced grazing land available.

A majority of the herders have been forced to sell off the long horn cow and adopt to smaller herds of the exotic and hybrid breeds, since the exotic breeds require less grazing land and produce more milk and meat thereby generating more income.

“Even those who traditionally liked the cows are now losing that hope because the grazing land is getting smaller,” Fidel Ruzindazi, a 70-year-old cattle keeper in the central Ugandan district of Sembabule told Xinhua

According to Experts the extinction of the indigenous breed is looming due to the breeding program, leading to the loss of the breed, cultural traditions and indigenous knowledge about animal breeding are likely to disappear.

Climate change that has brought persistent harsh climate is swaying herders into holding on to the long horn cattle that can withstand the effects since the long dry spells is infecting the exotic breeds with diseases therefore cutting profit margins.

The long horn cattle has been used to give an individual a status in the community, with Rwanda’s President Kagame and Uganda’s President Museveni known for their love for the cattle.

The Ankole long horn is used as a mode of dowry payment, used to resolve conflicts, build friendships and cleanse sins. The cattle’s hide is used to make clothes, mats and beddings. The horns used in bead and trumpet making.

The cattle is of course used for beef, with the meat termed as nutritious by scientists and its luscious milk high in fat content used for yogurt and other milk products.

By Staff reporter

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