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 be 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 centred in East Africa rather than though 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 with their owners or traded into northern Kenya. Distinct from the Orma Boran, they spread outside the Tana River basin into northern and central Kenya. Some of these were taken up in the 1920s by British settlers in Kenya and undergone genetic improvement for beef that now produced the Improved Boran, a recognized breed on its own.
Found in pastoral areas of northern and western Kenya.
Similar to Ethiopian Boran. Basically a beef animals, with large and wide frame; weighs up to 500 kg; it is also a good milker providing most of the staples for the pastoral community. Excellent walking ability, drought resistance; pronounced herd instinct; excellent mothering ability; docile temperament; high degree of disease resistance and tolerance; good heat tolerance and protection against solar radiation; highly adaptable to a variety of climates; extremely long life due to its high fertility, and good adaptability and large sex dimorphism, i.e. a small female and a large steer or bull, is a particular characteristic of the breed.