‘the world’s hardiest breed’ – The East African Boran.

The Boran is a zebu breed maintained by the Borana pastoralists of southern Ethiopia and contiguous areas of Kenya and Somalia. It is most likely that its ancestors arrived in the horn of Africa about 1,300 to 1,500 years ago from southwest Asia. Large numbers of these animals migrated from the liben plateau of southern Ethiopia, the country of origin to Somalia (where they are named as the Awai cattle) and Kenya (where they are known as the Tanaland Boran and Orma Boran). In the 1920s, European ranchers in Kenya purchased the Tanaland Boran cattle and through selection developed the improved Boran or Kenyan Boran. The breed has also proved popular in Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Two of the most respected pioneer breeders of the Kenya Boran: Giles Prettejohn and the late Gilfrid Powys. Photo Credits: Boran Breeders East Africa Facebook page.

Studies by the International Livestock Research Institute have discovered that the modern Kenyan Boran, increasingly known as the East African (EA) Boran, has a unique genetic composition. This comprises three distinct influences – predominantly Zebu, European-Middle East Bos taurus and African Bos taurus – which are believed to go back 2 000 years.

 

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