Traditional camel management as an adaptation strategy to ecological changes: the case of Karrayyuu Oromo of Ethiopia

By: Amante, Debela Goshu

This thesis is concerned primarily with Karrayyuu camel husbandry. Camel husbandry has flourished recently as an adaptation mechanism in response to ecological change. Karrayyuus have for centuries herded cattle, but recently, owing to ecological change, this has become unviable. Continued desertification, repeated drought and loss of land, has diminished the cattle herd size to a level that cannot support the herders and their families. One of the responses of the Karrayyuus to this process is the adoption of camel husbandry. Through camel husbandry, the Karrayyuus have managed to use pastures that were geographically marginal and nutritionally unpalatable for their cattle and small ruminants. Their knowledge of camels and their ecology, together with more effective management, has facilitated the recent growth of camel populations. However, camel husbandry still faces a problem with the sustainability of their current pastureland; this will determine whether Karrayyuu camel pastoralism continues to exist, or not. Key terms: Karrayuu, camel husbandry, ecological changes, ethno-ecology, adaptation.

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