Kafue cattle crossing

Posted in: Switzerland

Traditionally the Kafue Flats is a place for big herds. Before about 1950 there were herds of buffalo, zebra and other wild animals, but nowadays there are only cow herds of the local cattle farmers. So now and then these herds have to leave the plains, for example when they have to be brought back to the farm of the owner. Regularly they have to cross the Kafue River. In 2010 we were able to witness such a crossing. With big dustclouds the herd of more than 1500 animals announced their arrival. Later the mooing got louder and suddenly the animals emerged out of the dust and pushed their way to the bank of the river. When the leading bull stepped into the water, the rest of the herd followed him. With the leading bull in front, the swimming animals covered the 300 m in an elegant and slow manner. Also when leaving the river the same hierarchy reigned. The shepherds were the last to cross the river. The operation was supervised by the owner with his gun at the ready: the lurking crocodiles had to be scared. Once on the other bank, the mooing really started: the young calves were looking for their mothesr. It is not always certain that all will be reunited. Sometimes a few animals get lost and remain alone back on the other bank, although the shepherds try to collect all the animals. Then the herd advances in a long line to the farm of the owner.

– Johannes van der Weijden

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