A close look at rare African breed – the Kuri cattle of Lake Chad Basin: origin, distribution, production and adaptive charact

Author: C.L. Tawah, J.E.O. Rege and Gertrude S. Aboagye
Year: 1997
Issue: 2
Volume: 27
Page: 31 - 40

The Kuri is a rare, little known breed of cattle of the Hamitic Longhorn (Bos Taurus longifrons) type which is found on the islands and shores of Lake Chad Basin in the area covering the common borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. It is taller and more massive than its longhorn counterpart, the trypanotolerant N’Dama. The Kuri is trypanosusceptible. It is a dual-purpose milk-and-meat breed, which is tolerant of insect bites and has excellent swimming abilities. It has unique bulbous horns, which are believed to aid in flotation as it searches for water weeds, its main food. The Kuri is very well adapted to the aquatic conditions of the Lake but is susceptible to heat stress and solar radiation. The breed is quite fertile, with a reported age at first calving as early as 36 months and a calving interval as short as 15 months. Indeed, the Kuri cow can produce as many as 12 calves in her lifetime. The cow is capable of producing as much as 6 kg of milk a day after feeding her calf and fattens well on pasture and in feedlot. Meat quality of the Kuri is considered exceptional. The limited data on its population and distribution suggest that the Kuri can only survive in the environs of the Lake and is rapidly declining in numbers. Possible reasons for the declining trend include drought, protracted civil conflicts in the region, the retreating waters of the Lake and extensive crossbreeding with the zebus when they graze on the shores. The trend is exacerbated by lack of improvement programmes for the breed. The authors suggest immediate action to assess the extent of zebu introgression and the establishment of a breeding/multiplication center in the lake area for characterization, enhancement and conservation of the breed.

Keywords: Breed conservation, characterization, Hamitic longhorn, Kuri cattle, Lake Chad
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