Bunaji, Yakanaji, Akou, White Bororo, Fellata, White Kano
Breed Group Name:
West African Zebu
The widely accepted theory for the origin of present day zebu cattle in West Africa states that they came from the westward spread of the early zebu populations in East Africa through the Sudan. As for other zebu types, the cattle breeds of this group are found mainly in the drier regions. Their body conformation resembles the zebu cattle of eastern Africa (Epstein, 1971; Payne and Wilson, 1999). The zebu did not appear in West Africa until about 1800 BP. The increasing aridity of the climate and the deterioration of the environment in the Sahel appear to have favoured the introduction and spread of the zebu, as they are superior to longhorn and shorthorn (Bos taurus) cattle in withstanding drought conditions. Another theory based on archaeological findings in the Sahara (Muzzolini, 2000) argues that there was a separate domestication of cervico-thoracic humped zebu cattle in the region and become the ancestors of the Fulani. However, a recent molecular genetic evidence (Hanotte et al., 2002) supported an earlier suggestion that the major process of Bos indicus influence centred in East Africa, and that its genetic introgression spread to the west of the continent. In any case, gradual interbreeding of the earlier zebu populations with the prevailing Bos taurus type of cattle is believed to have resulted in the present-day local breeds that exhibit West African Shorthorn characteristics, e.g., the Shuwa. Similarly, the lyre-horned zebu breeds of the Fulani pastoralists, such as Red Bororo, appear to be the result of early upgrading of longhorn-type cattle by the introduced zebu cattle (Payne and Wilson, 1999). Overall, the Fulani differ from the typical zebu of western and eastern Africa by the presence of long horns and from the cerico-thoracic-humped Sanga by the presence of a thoracic and sometimes intermediate hump. The West African Zebu cattle consist of two main groups: the Gudali group (Adamawa, Sokoto) and the Fulani group. The Fulani have been classified further into two groups: the lyre-horned subgroup consisting of Senegalese Fulani (or the Gobra), the Sudanese Fulani, and the White Fulani (or Bunaji); and long-horned subgroup represented by the Red Fulani (or Rahaji). Diali (or Djeli) is a strain of Fulani found on the flood plains of Niger river in Niger and south-west Nigeria (Rege 1999; Rege and Tawah, 1999).
Breed Origin :
The origins and classification of the Fulani remains controversial; one school of thought is of the opinion that the Fulani cattle are truly long-horned zebus that first arrived in Africa from Asia on the east coast; these are believed to have been introduced into West Africa by the Arab invaders during the seventh century, AD, roughly about the same time that the short-horned zebus arrived into East Africa. This theory is supported by the appearance of the skull as well as the thoracic hump of the Fulani cattle. Another school of thought contends that these cattle originated from the Horn of Africa, present-day Ethiopia and Somalia, and that interbreeding between the short-horned zebu (which arrived in the Horn around the first millennium BC) and the ancient Hamitic Longhorn and/or Brachyceros shorthorn (which had arrived much earlier) occurred in the Horn about 2000-1500 BC. The subsequent successive introductions of the short-horned zebu cattle are believed to have displaced most of these sanga cattle into southern Africa. During this period of constant movements of people and animals within Africa, some of these sanga cattle probably intermixed with the short-horned, thoracic-humped cattle to produce the so-called thoracic-humped sanga. The latter may have migrated, most probably along with the spread of Islam, westerly to constitute what are today the lyre-horned cattle of West and Central Africa, including the Fulani cattle. Originally the White Fulani were indigenous to north Nigeria, south-east Niger and north-east Cameroon, owned by both Fulani and Hausa people. They then spread to southern Chad and western Sudan.
The original habitat of the White Fulani is northern Nigeria, southern Niger and north-eastern Cameroon with both the Fulani and Hausa tribes; gradually the spread into southern Chad, and western Sudan (where they are referred to as Fellata, and Red Fulani). In Nigeria this breed accounts for about half of the Nigerian national herd, and about 95% of these are owned by the Fulani (Felius, 1995).
Characterised by long (80-105cm) and lyre-shaped horns; coat colour is white with patches of black, sometimes with red marks on the ears, feet and sides. It is known to have excellent potential as dual-purpose (milk/beef) cattle (Felius, 1995).