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N’Dama -cow- West Africa

(most common name)
(transboundary/brand name)

(local/other name):
• Boenca (Guinea-Bissau)
• Boyenca (Guinea-Bissau)
• Fouta Djallon (Guinea­)
• Fouta Jallon (Guinea­)
• Fouta Longhorn (Guinea­)
• Fouta Malinke (Guinea­)
• Futa (Guinea­)
• Malinke (Guinea­)
• Mandingo (Liberia)
• Okuma (Gabon)
• Outa Malinke (Guinea­)
local/other name (French):
• N’Dama Petite (Senegal)

The N’Dama is a humpless (taurine) longhorn that arrived in West Africa from the Middle East somewhere between 5000–2350 B.C. and are genetically close to the Kuri.

The N’Dama initially flourished in the Fouta Djallon highland region in the centre of Guinea and was possibly named after the town of N’Déma (in the Dabola Prefecture in the Faranah Region).

The N’Dama is trypanotolerant and used for many different crosses in West Africa, especially with zebus. Trypanotolerant cattle have a natural ability to resist the effects of any bovine trypanosomosis disease, especially those carried by the tsetse fly. Trypanosomosis (trih-PAH-noh-soh-MOH-sihs) is any tropical disease caused by trypanosomes (single-celled parasitic protozoans) — usually transmitted by biting insects.

The N’Dama is also very hardy and adapts well to humid climate conditions. Although used mainly for meat or milk, in DR Congo they are said to provide a leather of excellent quality called ‘vachette de guinée’ (‘cowhide of Guinea’).

The N’Dama is found in 20 West African countries:
• 20 countries list N’Dama as the most common name
• 17 countries list N’Dama as the transboundary/brand name
• 13 countries list the same 4 breed local names - Boyenca, Fouta Djallon, Futa, Fouta Longhorn
• 13 countries identify the N’Dama as a West African Small Humpless Longhorn
• 19 countries import N’Dama

Listed locations within countries include:
Angola - Cabinda province; small nuclei also raised in the northern provinces
Cameroon - mainly in the palm plantations in the Littoral and south provinces
Côte d’Ivoire - north­west and center
Ghana - mostly in the northern and western regions
Guinea - 40% in Fouta Djallon, 34% in high Guinea, 18 % in maritime Guinea, 8% in forest area
Mali - Yanfolila, Kenieba and south of Kita
Nigeria - southwest (Fashola and Ado ­Ekiti) and southeast (Adadama)
Senegal - south and south­east

Population counts since 2000 include:
• Côte d’Ivoire (2001) - 198,996
• Guinea (2005) - 3,756,353
• Togo (2008) - 200–300
• Senegal (2012) - 733,422 – 850,000

Varieties of N’Dama and stabilized/fixed N’Dama crosses include:
Gambian N’Dama
N’Dama Grande
N’Dama of Kaarta
Guinean N’Dama
N’Dama × Jersey
Thomton (Boenca)

N’Dama -cow- West Africa N’Dama -bull- West Africa N’Dama -bull- West Africa

This page was last updated on: 2023-08-09

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My Daily Cow® A-Z Alphabetical Cattle Breed Reference
and read about other cattle breeds.

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