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REVISITING INDIGENOUS BIOTIC AND ABIOTIC WEATHER FORECASTING FOR POSSIBLE INTEGRATION WITH SCIENTIFIC WEATHER PREDICTION: A CASE FROM THE BORANA PEOPLE OF SOUTH ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0605-02]
This study assesses how Borana herders make weather forecasts using abiotic and biotic indicators. Survey questionnaires, observations, focus group discussions and interviews with key informants were employed to obtain data. Field data were analysed and interpreted using appropriate analytical tools and procedures. The result revealed that the Borana herders have a long history of forecasting weather using astrological, intestinal, plant and animal body language indicators. Astrological and intestinal readings need special training and local expertise and are known as Urgii Elaltus and Uchuu respectively. Forecast information is disseminated through the Borana socio-cultural institutions. Based on the forecast information they receive, the Borana herders take measures such as strengthening enclosures, storing hay, migrating with animals, de-stocking, and changing schedules for social and cultural festivities such as weddings. The precision and credibility of traditional weather forecast has steadily declined and led to repeated faulty predictions. Poor documentation and knowledge transfer systems, the influence of religion and modern education, the premature death of forecast experts and the growth of alcoholism were identified as causes undermining the viability of Borana indigenous weather forecasts. It would be desirable for the tenets of indigenous weather forecasting to be assessed scientifically and integrated into the modern science of weather forecasting before they vanish.