By Marion Ndung’u
When they first landed in Laikipia nine years ago, residents spent the better part of their days gazing at the ‘strange’ animals at the Ol Pejeta conservancy.
That attraction is on a large scale and forms part of the must-see for tourists visiting Laikipia. It is thus common for tourists to flock the conservancy to see cows— yes, cows. The Ankole cows are not found in any other part of the country. The cows are the new crowd puller to the conservancy besides the other attractions.
The medium-sized animals, with long, large-diameter horns, they attract attention wherever they appear.
They are associated with the Nkole tribe of Uganda are fast declining and were brought to Kenya to save them from extinction.
“The Ankole breed was first brought to the conservancy in late 2004 to increase the breed and also serves as a tourist attraction,” says Peter Wangodu, a naturalist at the Serena Sweetwaters.
The cows’ unique features are the horns that are relatively large compared to any others. The horn can grow to over two meters long and can weigh as much as 730 kilograms. A calf sometimes has horns that are the size of what that of another breed achieves in its lifetime. The cows also have a dark brown colour.
Ol Pejeta so far has 50 cows that are grazed on the vast conservancy.