Everest is a Watusi, which are often referred to as the “cattle of kings” and whose ancestry can be traced back more than 6,000 years. The Watusi is an East African descendant of two ancient breeds of cattle, the Egyptian longhorn — which are depicted in the Egyptian hieroglyphs — and the zebu longhorn, which have migrated from Asia. Known also by its Latin name, Bos taurus, this species has long been a part of the Tutsi, Bahima, Ankole, and Kivu cultures.
Visitors to Eudora Farms Safari Park can meet Everest, as well as a wealth of other exotic animals. Explaining the functionality of Everest’s impressive horns, Eudora Farms founder and owner Mark Nesbit says, “The Watusi’s horns function similarly to a radiator in a car. When the Watusi gets hot, their blood flows to their horns to keep their body cool.”
Their tree-trunk sized horns, with the largest circumference found in any cattle breed, are honeycombed with blood vessels and serve to thermoregulate in hot temperatures. Blood moving through the horns is cooled by moving air, which then flows back into the body and lowers the animal’s body temperature.
The horns also serve a protective function. The adult cattle encircle the young when they sleep, forming a wall against predators. The horns of the adults are formidable weapons against any potential intruders. But while their horns can protect if needed, Watusi cattle are also gentle, domesticated herbivores with a diet that includes grasses, leaves, and acorns. Watusi have evolved on their own to be adaptive to the harsh dry seasons, and their hardiness is one reason why the animals are greatly valued and loved.
Learn more about this and other majestic animals at Eudora Wildlife Safari Park, the first drive-thru safari park in South Carolina, on page 62.