THE BIOTIC ENVIRONMENT IN THE PRECOLONIAL HISTORY OF THE SAMBURU OF NORTH-CENTRAL KENYA

Author's Name: Peter Waweru & John Ndungu Kungu
Subject Area: Life Sciences
Subject Entomology
Section Research Paper

Keyword:

Biotic, Entomology, Ecology, Precolonial, Samburu


Abstract

Just as it is difficult to reconstruct the physical environment of pre-colonial Samburuland, its entomology and wildlife, or what such facts meant to the herdsmen, present an equally insurmountable challenge as no records to that effect exist. Those who have attempted to delve into the era towards that end, have done so simply to show that herdsmen lived at the mercy of such harmful insects like ticks and tsetse flies. Even when such scholars invoke the immunity of livestock to insect-borne diseases, they always argue that the disease made livestock a pitiable sight. Wild animals on the other hand, have been shown to have been beyond man’s capability to control them and hence constituted another scourge. Therefore, this paper, attempts a survey of the Samburu precolonial entomology and wildlife, with a view to showing that, not only were these ardent herdsmen aware of the challenges posed by their biotic milieu, but they did design strategies to mitigate their effects on their pastoral economy. Equally, they endeavoured to maintain a critical balance between their economic activities and the natural environment within which these harmful insects and wildlife thrived.

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