Zebu cattle (Bos indicus), with their characteristic hump and pendulous dewlap, are known to have descended from the secondary cattle domestication in the arid areas of the 'Fertile Crescent' about 5000 BP (Payne and Wilson, 1999). Available archaeological records indicate that they are the most recent types of cattle to introduced into Africa. Recent molecular genetic as well as archaeological evidences (Hanotte et al., 2002; Marshall, 2000) also showed that the introduction of zebu cattle into Africa centered in East Africa rather than through the land connection between Egypt and the Near East. Zebu are known to be better than the humpless cattle in regulating body temperature (hence lower body water requirements). Their hardened hooves and lighter bones enable them to endure long migrations. These adaptive attributes have facilitated their importation and spread by Indian and Arabian merchants across the Red Sea to drier agro-ecological regions of the Horn of Africa (Loftus and Cunningham, 2000). The Large East African Zebu breeds of cattle, like the present-day Boran of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and the Butana and Kenana of the Sudan are very similar morphologically to the zebu breeds of Asia. Mainly pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa maintain them.
Breed Origin :
Originally descended from the first introduction of zebu into Africa from West Asia. The breed evolved from populations of Ethiopian Boran cattle that migrated or traded into northern Kenya and taken up in the 1920s by British settlers in Kenya and undergone genetic improvement for beef (thus the synonym Improved Boran). Now it is recognized as an excellent tropical beef breed, with finished weights as high as 850 kg. The breeders' society in Kenya was established in 1951. The breed has since been exported to Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Zaire, and more recently to Brazil, Mexico and Australia.
Maintained in commercial ranches in the semi-arid uplands of rift valley and eastern province of Kenya.
Excellent tropical beef characteristics developed through long-term genetic selection under good management conditions of commercial ranches.