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Ankole Longhorn Cow on the Verge of Extinction

Revered for its long horns, the Ankole cattle are sacred animals in rural western Uganda and parts of neighboring Rwanda. The status of an individual among the tribesmen depended on the number and beauty of the cattle they possessed.

“They are very beautiful to look at especially when they are very big in number. They are seen as wealth,” Fidel Ruzindazi, a 70-year-old cattle keeper in the central Ugandan district of Sembabule told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Among the Bahima tribesmen, the Ankole longhorn cattle functioned as dowry, and were used to strengthen friendship, resolve conflicts and cleansing sins. Their hides were used for making clothes, mats and beddings. The horns were used to make beads and trumpets among others.

Their urine was used to clean containers for churning milk and keeping yogurt. Their milk, according to scientists, has high fat content and the meat is low in cholesterol which makes them healthier and more nutritious to consume compared to exotic breeds.

The ghee from the cows is served as a special sauce and the Bahima used to make bread and gravy from the cows’ blood.

Over time, however, it is becoming increasingly hard to keep the longhorn cattle as they graze in large areas. The increasing human population, among other factors, has reduced the grazing land available for the herders.

Adam Cohn

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