Ntaba Nyoni: Cyril Ramaphosa’s Ankole Bull Sells for R640 000

An Ankole bull belonging to South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa sold for R640 000 at the Ntaba Nyoni auction recently, near Ermelo in Mpumalanga.

The auction, of Ankole and Ankole crossbreeds, was the first of its kind in South Africa.

Ramaphosa’s Lot 35, NANK10-115, with a right horn length of over 110cm, was the highest-priced bull at the auction. It’s left horn length is more than 114cm; from tip to tip the horn length is over 129cm.

The politician owns the Ntaba Nyoni herd, one of very few in the country. At the auction, he said he first saw the Ankole during a visit to Uganda.
The High-priced Ankole Bull 

He said he had approached the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to import the breed, but was told it was not permitted, as Uganda’s veterinary services could not guarantee the animals were healthy.

Ramaphosa then approached Dr Morné de La Rey, a veterinary surgeon and embryo transfer specialist, who travelled to Uganda with him to bring embryos to South Africa.

Ankole is now registered as a breed and is administered by the Afrikaner Cattle Breeders’ Society of South Africa. Its meat is naturally low in cholesterol and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. The two traits are governed solely by genes; they cannot be attained through development or feed.

The Ankole is also popular with game farmers, who buy the bulls for hunting and use the horns as trophies. Hunting bulls sold for between R15 000 and R50 000, depending on the size of their horns.

According to online sources, the Ankole-Watusi is a modern American breed of domestic cattle. It derives from the Ankole group of Sanga cattle breeds of central Africa. It is characterized by very large horns.

The Ankole-Watusi derives from cattle of Ankole type imported to Germany as zoo specimens in the early twentieth century. From Germany, these spread to other European zoos. Some were imported to the United States, and in 1960 a herd was started in New York State by cross-breeding some of them with an unrelated Canadian bull.

A breed society, the Ankole Watusi International Registry, was set up in 1983,and in 1989 a breed standard was drawn up. In 2016 the total number for the breed was thought to be approximately 1500 head, some 80% of them in the United States. 

The Ankole-Watusi may be of any color, but is usually red. The horns are unusually large, with a wide spread and the largest circumference found in any cattle breed. Guinness World Records lists a bull named CT Woodie with a horn circumference of 103.5 cm (40.7 in) and a steer named Lurch, with horns measuring 95.25 cm (37.50 in), as record-holders. - Online Sources

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