Articles | Volume 60, issue 4
Original study
11 Oct 2017
Original study |  | 11 Oct 2017

Morphological assessment of the Zebu Bororo (Wodaabé) cattle of Niger in the West African zebu framework

M. Maaouia A. Moussa, Moumouni Issa, Amadou Traoré, Moustapha Grema, Marichatou Hamani, Iván Fernández, Albert Soudré, Isabel Álvarez, Moumouni Sanou, Hamidou H. Tamboura, Yenikoye Alhassane, and Félix Goyache

Abstract. A total of 357 adult cows and 29 sires belonging to the long-horned Niger Zebu Bororo cattle population were assessed for 13 body measurements and 11 qualitative traits. Data were jointly analysed with 311 cows and 64 sires belonging to other four West African zebu cattle populations, sampled in Burkina Faso and Benin, representative of both the short-horned and the long-horned West African zebu groups using multivariate statistical methods. Besides the other long-horned zebu breed analysed (Zebu Mbororo of Burkina Faso), Zebu Bororo cattle tended to have the highest mean values for all body measurements. Mahalanobis distance matrices further informed that pairs involving Zebu Bororo cattle had the higher differentiation of the dataset. However, contour plots constructed using eigenvalues computed via principal component analysis (PCA) illustrated a lack of differentiation among West African zebu cattle populations at the body measurements level. Correspondence analysis carried out on the 11 qualitative traits recorded allowed for ascertaining a clear differentiation between the Zebu Bororo and the other zebu cattle populations analysed which, in turn, did not show a clear differentiation at the qualitative type traits level. In our data, Zebu Bororo cattle had in high frequency qualitative features such as dropped ears, lyre-shaped horns and red-pied coat colour that are not frequently present in the other West African zebu populations analysed. A directional selection due to a rough consensus of the stock-keepers may be hypothesised. Performance of further analyses to assess the degree in which such breeding differences may be related to genetic or production differences are advised.

Short summary
The long-horned Fulani zebu, spread all over the Sahel area, is one of the main cattle groups in Africa. Despite their importance, characterisation of these cattle is poorly developed. The current research illustrated a lack of differentiation among local populations of this cattle group at the body measurements level. Conservation or selection initiatives could be implemented at a cross-boundary level.