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Pollution Control and Other Measures to Protect Biodiversity in Lake Tanganyika (RAF/92/G32) Socio-economic Special Studies - Tanzania
MAMMALS IN MTANGA
Notes on Ha and Bembe Ethnomammalogy in a Village bordering Gombe Stream National Park, Western Tanzania
Martin Walsh Natural Resources Institute, Chatham
Kigoma January 1997
MAMMALS IN MTANGA
Notes on Ha and Bembe Ethnomammalogy in a Village bordering Gombe Stream National Park, Western Tanzania.
Introduction The following notes on local knowledge of mammals in Mtanga are based upon information gathered during an action research exercise, which was conducted in the village on 13-18 January 1997. This information was recorded in the context of discussions about the history of environmental impacts in Mtanga and relations between the village and the neighbouring Gombe Stream National Park (the overall findings of this research will be presented in the final report of the exercise). No systematic attempt was made to collect ethnomammalogical data, there being insufficient time to do so. These notes should therefore be treated as no more than a starting point for future work of this kind, should it ever be undertaken. Key informants Most of the information recorded below was provided by two informants, one a native Ha speaker and the other a native Bembe speaker. Interviews were conducted in Swahili, both informants being good second-language speakers of the national language and local lingua franca. Further background information on these two key informants and the context of the interviews is given below. (1) OB = Omari Bulio, a Ha speaker aged c.80 years, was interviewed by the author on a number of occasions on four consecutive days, 15-18 January 1997. Mzee Bulio was born in Kalinzi, and left when he was about 10 years old, following his father, who was the founder of Mtanga and its first chief (umutwale, 1/2). He was therefore one of the first Ha settlers in Mtanga, arriving at a time (in the mid-late 1920s) before the original forests had been cleared. He later succeeded his father as the umutwale of Mtanga, and after Tanganyika’s independence in 1961 became the first village chairman. Further background information on him can be found in the accompanying Preliminary Glossary of Ha Plant Names. Notes on Ha ethnoherpetology from the same informant are included in the companion paper Snakes and other Reptiles in Mtanga (see the references at the end of this paper). Most of the interviews with him took place at his home in Mtanga “A” sub-village, and during them various other household members and passers-by contributed to our discussions. (2) KB = Kamili Barabara, a Bembe speaker, was interviewed in Kazinga sub-village on 16 January 1997. He was born in Mlimba-Kasaba on (what is now) the Zairean
coast of Lake Tanganyika, and crossed the lake with his father, Anzaruni Mlondachano, when the latter led other members of their clan (the Basitambwe) to seek a new life on the eastern shore (the main motive for this migration being to escape the iniquities of Belgian colonial rule). The main group of migrants first settled in Ngerwe (in the valley immediately south of Kazinga) in 1950 – among an existing community of Rundi migrants. In 1952 they moved north to Kazinga, which had hitherto been only the site of temporary fishing camps. Gombe Stream Game Reserve was already in existence at this time, while the hills between Ngerwe and the reserve boundary (just north of Kazinga) were largely covered with virgin forest. His father, the founder of the Bembe settlement at Kazinga, died at the start of the 1980s. Mzee Barabara himself became the chairman of Kazinga sub-village in 1995, a position he still holds. Our interview took place in the open in the centre of Kazinga (eavesdroppers were asked to move on), and ranged over a wide variety of topics, including the history of settlement, land use, and relations with the neighbouring reserve and park. Unfortunately it was not possible in the time available to interview any Rundi speakers, although they also comprise an important component in the population of Mtanga, including Kazinga sub-village (where 12 of the 54 households are Rundi). Local variation It should be noted that there are important differences in the perceptions of wildlife between the residents of Kazinga and those in the main centre of Mtanga to the south. This is not just a reflection of ethnic differences (there are, after all, many Bembe also living at the other end of the village), but of the fact that Kazinga borders the national park and is visited more frequently by animals which live and breed in Gombe. The forests in the centre and south of Mtanga were cleared at a much earlier date (from the late-1920s onwards) and the hills there provide a refuge for fewer species. The park impinges much more directly on the lives of Kazinga’s inhabitants than it does on those of other villagers. The reverse is also reputed to be true, and it is rumoured that Kazinga harbours a number of poachers. Given the short time allotted to fieldwork and the kinds of interviews conducted, it was not possible to confirm this rumour (which derives from external sources), though it was admitted that women from Kazinga have been caught cutting firewood within the park. It might be added that despite the fact that wild animals are more scarce to the south of Kazinga and the park boundary, hunting is still a viable activity in the hills, and carried out by Ha boys and young men among others. Identification of species The referents of most Ha and Bembe mammal names were relatively easy to determine, especially when their Swahili names were known and they could be checked against the list of ‘Larger Mammals of Gombe Stream National Park’ which is included in the park guide (Bygott 1992: 64). The English and scientific names of mammals given in the guide have been corrected to conform with those employed in
the East Africa Natural History Society’s Check-list of the Mammals of East Africa (Davies and Vanden Berghe 1994). In the case of smaller mammals - including most insectivores and rodents identification has proved more difficult: many do not have specific Swahili names, nor are they listed in the park guide or described in the only handbook available in Kigoma (Haltenorth and Diller 1980). At the same time it is evident that more Ha and Bembe names, plus more detailed descriptions of the mammals and their utilisation, could be elicited if research were conducted more systematically and with a larger number of informants. This remains a task for the future. A note on linguistics Both Ha and Bembe are Bantu languages, though they are not closely related. Ha is a member of the Lacustrine group of Eastern Bantu languages. Published information on the genetic affiliations of Bembe was not available at the time of conducting the research or writing this report, though one source claimed that it was closely related to Lega, another Zairean language. The orthography of the Ha terms given in the text below follows the conventions employed in the accompanying papers. Bembe terms have also been written using a simplified orthography which does not mark vowel length, quality, or tones. The most striking feature of Bembe in the names recorded is the loss of original /*k/, replaced in intervocalic position by a glottal stop (marked in the text as /’/). This stop does not occur, however, in wordinitial position: thus the class 12 prefix is simply /a-/ (from earlier *ka-/). The singular form of each Ha and Bembe name given below is followed by numbers indicating the normal noun class designations of their singular and plural forms respectively.
List of Species Described Note: only orders and families containing species which were described (positively or otherwise) and/or observed (in the case of bats) are included in the following list. Order Insectivora [Possible species can be found in the section on unidentified rodents / insectivores below (Order Rodentia).] Orders Macro- and Microchiroptera [No information was collected on bats, although they can be readily observed in Mtanga at night.]
Order Primates Family Galagonidae: Bushbabies Subfamily Galaginae Galago sp., Galago sp. Ha: ululila, 9/10 (?) Bembe: mbila, 9/10 Galagos (bushbabies) are found among the trees on the hills behind Mtanga: they do not seem to frequent the areas of human settlement along the lakeshore. OB noted that these small noctural primates are difficult to see, but can be easily recognised by their calls (the Ha name makes direct reference to this fact). KB, who did not know their Swahili name (komba), described the mbila as a small primate which ‘sings’ or cries at night. He added that they are not present in any numbers in Kazinga. The Ha and Bembe names are probably related (both informants described the terms as invariant in the plural: Ha ululila, however, looks like a class 11 singular form, in which case its regular class 10 plural would be imbila, cognate with Bembe mbila). It remains to be determined whether these names refer to just one species of galago or more than one species. Murray mentions the presence of the (Western ) Needleclawed Galago, Galago elegantulus, in the national park (1992: 3): this is extremely unlikely, however, because G.elegantulus is only found in western central Africa (Haltenorth and Diller 1980: 257; for a list of the galago species found in East Africa see Davies and Vanden Berghe 1994: 11). Family Cercopithecidae: Old World Monkeys Subfamily Cercopithecinae Vervet Monkey, Cercopithecus aethiops Ha: inkende, 9/10 Bembe: ambili, 12/13 Vervets sometimes raid farms in the hills above Mtanga, though not as often as baboons. According to KB, they raid farms in Kazinga from within the nearby national park. He noted that they eat maize, groundnuts, and other crops, but not cassava. Vervets are, in turn, killed with spears and eaten by some Bembe (see under Baboon, below). The Bembe name for vervets is cognate with the Swahili name (tumbili). Red-tailed Monkey, Cercopithecus ascanius Blue Monkey, Cercopithecus mitis Bembe: ima, 9/10 KB reported that he had never seen either of these closely-related monkeys in Kazinga, only within the national park. Likewise, OB made no mention of their presence, past or present, in Mtanga. The Bembe name, which is cognate with Swahili kima, appears to describe both species: KB recalled the existence of two
types of ima, one ‘black’ and other ‘reddish’, like the colour of some cattle. He had eaten their meat in Zaire, and described it as very tasty. Olive Baboon, Papio anubis Ha: inguge, 9/10 Bembe: amba, 9/10(?) Baboons cause more damage than any other mammal to crops in Mtanga. According to OB they are a daily nuisance, and eat all crops without any discrimination. Their depredations (and those of bushpigs) were even greater in the past. When the Bembe first came to Ngerwe in 1950 and asked him (as the Ha umutwale, chief) for land on which to cultivate he told them that they were welcome, but warned them that baboons and other vermin were a great problem. ‘That doesn’t bother us’, they replied, ‘they’re food for us!’ The Ha, like most East African Bantu speakers, do not eat baboons (or other primates), and indeed find it shocking that others do. As a result of this Bembe practice, and their greater industry in cultivating, the local population of baboons was much reduced. This, at least, was OB’s interpretation of events. A woman in his household, however, thought that it was the national park which had helped to bring the vermin problem down to a more manageable level, because the staff fed and ‘calmed down’ the baboons and other wild animals. In the past, she said, baboons posed a considerable threat to farmers, and were capable of giving a nasty bite, which could expose the bone in a person’s limb (for her similar view of the danger once posed by chimpanzees to humans, see below). Whatever the reasons for their retreat from the south of Mtanga, they are still a daily problem for farmers at Kazinga, next to the park boundary. KB observed that baboons do not live in Kazinga itself, but raid from their safe refuge in the park. They are, he said, especially fond of cassava, and their raids are worst when the intervening woodland has been burned and there are fewer obstacles to their progress. The local Bembe farmers do not build shelters from which to guard their crops, but simply chase away or kill baboons whenever they see them in the fields (refraining, he claimed, from following them into the park or killing them there). Baboons are killed by the Bembe with spears or machetes. Some Bembe eat them (as well as other primates), although the majority do not – including people with strong religious convictions (both Christian and Muslim). KB estimated that one quarter (around ten) of the Bembe households in Kazinga are primate-eating. The men and youths in these households do not, however, go out hunting specifically for baboons or other monkeys, but only kill and eat them opportunistically. Both male and female baboons are eaten without any scruples, though animals with a lot of meat on them are preferred. KB himself does not eat primate-meat (though he has tasted monkey meat in the past: see above). Subfamily Colobinae Red Colobus Monkey, Procolobus badius Bembe: asonga, 12/13 Like the Blue and Red-tailed Monkeys, the Red Colobus was said by both informants not to occur in Mtanga (including Kazinga), though it is found in the national park.
Family Pongidae: Apes Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes Ha: insoko, 9/10 Rundi (?): mafu, (?) Bembe:so’o, 9/10 Chimpanzees once roamed over the Mtanga hills, before the removal of most of their tree cover. The head teacher at Mtanga primary school, who used to walk down from his home at Mgaraganza to Mtanga when he was a boy in the early 1960s, recalled encountering them along the path in places where there was still some forest. Since then chimpanzees have disappeared from the area: according to OB they moved northwards into Gombe Stream National Park some twenty years ago. When asked, he said that the Ha do not distinguish between male and female chimpanzees by name (in many Bantu languages large or ‘solitary’ male primates are given a special name). There were no chimpanzees in Kalinzi, the original home of OB and other early Ha settlers in Mtanga: they therefore had less than 50 years of direct acquaintance with the species. Since the disappearance of chimpanzees from Mtanga, however, local school children have been taken to see them in the park, and fishermen occasionally encounter them along the Gombe beaches. OB himself had seen chimpanzees being fed with bananas in the park, and had watched one of them banging tins (the alpha male ‘Mike’). Nonetheless, knowledge of chimpanzees and their behaviour is limited. The woman in OB’s household who described the dangerous behaviour of baboons (see above) provided an even more alarming description of the terror which could be wreaked by chimpanzees. The chimpanzee’s usual method of attacking a human, she said (and everyone else agreed), was to tear off the unfortunate victim’s nose and gouge out his (or her) eyes, before leaving the injured person for dead. Two incidents were recalled in which chimpanzee attacks had led to death: one victim was a young man (whose nickname, ironically, was ‘Makombe ya Sokwe’), the other a woman. Other villagers had recovered from their injuries after being attacked. During the same interview (with OB and other members of his household), a garbled version of past events at Kalalangabo was also recounted. A number of chimpanzees survived in this village (not many according to OB), to the south of Mtanga, long after they had disappeared from Mtanga itself. According to Murray (1992: 42), they were all killed by local hunters after a visit by TANAPA staff – the villagers fearing that they might otherwise lose their land to the chimpanzees and their protectors. OB and others did not mention the killing, but merely said that there were two ‘white’ chimpanzees at Kalalangabo which some Europeans (wazungu) wanted to take to Gombe: they tried but (for unspecified reasons) failed. The Bembe name for chimpanzees is cognate with the Ha name (Swahili sokwe is a relatively recent borrowing). KB reported that they can still be seen at Kazinga, though nowhere near as frequently as in the past. Until 1962 they were very numerous: now a whole year may pass without a single chimpanzee being sighted at Kazinga. He did not know the reason for this fall in their numbers, but suggested that they had retreated into the park. Even when they were relatively common, the
Bembe did not think of them as vermin: chimpanzees did very little harm to crops, with the possible exception of ripe bananas. KB did, however, describe the chimpanzee as a fierce creature, noting that it is particularly unwise to approach a female with young. Nonetheless, he had never heard of anyone at Kazinga who had been harmed by a chimpanzee. In the past chimpanzees were killed and eaten by some of the local Bembe: but this practice, according to KB, has since ceased (whether because of the relative scarcity of chimpanzees locally or because of the protection afforded to them he did not say). Wherever they are available and unprotected, chimpanzees presumably still comprise an item in the eclectic diet of some Bembe in Zaire. Order Carnivora Family Mustelidae: Weasels, Badgers and Otters African Clawless Otter, Aonyx capensis African Spot-necked Otter, Lutra maculicollis Bembe: abako, 12/13 Both principal informants reported seeing otters (Swahili fisi maji) in the lake shallows, especially north of the main Mtanga village centre. OB said that they are seen around the headland between Mtanga and Ngerwe, but could not recall their Ha name (suggesting instead that there was none). KB noted that otters are sometimes seen swimming along the lake, especially in rocky areas, adding that they are never seen in the local streams and that they are not always present in the lake either. When asked, he opined that the frequency of otter sightings had not changed over time. He also reported that, for obvious reasons, otters do not eat either spiny fishes or electric fish. Otters are, however, hunted by some people for their meat, which is said to be very good. It is not clear whether these descriptions (and the Bembe name) refer to just one or both species of otter said to occur in the national park. Honey Badger, Mellivora capensis Ha: ikibuli, 7/8 The Ha name for the honey badger or ratel is a reflex of a widespread Eastern Bantu root with the same meaning (occurring, for example, in such diverse languages as Nyamwezi and Pangwa). According to OB, honey badgers are active. They are also listed among the mammals found in the national park, although KB was unaware of their presence in Kazinga (he also said that there are no bee-keepers or honeygatherers in this sub-village). Family Hyaenidae: Aardwolf and Hyaenas Spotted Hyaena, Crocuta crocuta Ha: ifisi ( ?), 9/10 ( ?): makopokopo, 6 ( ?) Bembe: mlunga, 9/10 Bembe (?): ngawe, 9/10
Although no longer seen, it seems that hyaenas once frequented Mtanga. According to OB, the Ha name for the Spotted Hyaena is the same as the Swahili name (fisi). KB also described an animal, last seen when he was a young man (in the 1950s?), which can tentatively be identified with the Spotted Hyaena. He said that it was like a hunting dog (mbwa mwitu), had a distinctive cry (like a lion), and killed goats, though it only ate a little of the flesh. He gave its ‘proper’ Bembe name as mlunga – at first he called it ngawe, before describing this as a local nickname (lugha ya mtaani), possibly Rundi in origin. In Swahili, he said, it is called makopokopo. A Swahili speaker from Ujiji later identified this as a Ha name for the Spotted Hyaena, possibly another local nickname. Family Felidae: Cats African Wild Cat, Felis silvestris Ha: ikimbulu, 9/10 Bembe: paka, 9/10 The Ha name for the wild cat is cognate with its name in a number of other Eastern Bantu languages, including Swahili (kimburu). The Bembe name recorded above is probably borrowed from the more general Swahili term for domesticated and other cats (paka) – the retention of /k/ indicating that this is a comparatively recent loanword in Bembe. OB described some ibimbulu as resembling leopards, while others have coats with ‘white spots’. He also noted that they prey upon domestic poultry. KB reported the behaviour, adding, however, that they are not common in Kazinga. OB claimed that wild cats have disappeared from the hills behind Mtanga. This suggests that they are more likely to be seen close to the national park boundary. The Gombe Stream guide book does not list wild cats among the ‘larger mammals’ to be found in the park, though it does include a number of smaller carnivores. Lion, Panthera leo Ha: intambwe, 9/10 It appears that lions once frequented the national park and surrounding areas. In the early 1960s Jane Goodall was told of a lion which had been chased away by four chimpanzees wielding sticks. The source of this story was a ‘long dead relative’ of Mbrisho, her elderly informant in Bubango (Goodall 1988: 41-42). More recently a 72 year old man in Bubango told LTBP researchers that lions were present in the area when he first moved there in 1946 (Walsh et al. 1966: 2). This suggests that lions disappeared sometime between the end of the Second World War and Tanganyika’s independence. OB confirmed that lions were also present in Mtanga, where they would prey upon bushpigs and sometimes people. Leopard, Panthera pardus Ha: ingwe, 9/10 Bembe : hangwe, 9/10 The Ha and Bembe names for the leopard are reflexes of a shared Bantu root. At least one leopard has frequented the national park in recent years, though there have been no sightings of late. KB reported that a leopard was known to have been
visiting Kazinga, but has since disappeared. This animal was never seen in the vicinity of human habitation. Given the nocturnal habits and elusiveness of leopards, it is quite possible that Gombe supports or lies within the range of a number of these predators (cf. Murray 1992: 3). Unidentified carnivores [unidentified] Bembe: me’e, 3/4 KB described this as a very common carnivore which lives within the Kazinga area (i.e. it is not just a visitor from the park). mie’e prey upon domestic poultry, especially during the dry season, and their method is to first seize the birds by their tail feathers. Some of them are ‘red’ at the rear (and tail?). This is probably one or more species of mongoose (at least four species occur in the national park). [Order Proboscidae] [African Elephant, Loxodonta africana OB reported that elephants had never been seen in Mtanga or the surrounding area.] Order Tubulidentata Family Orycteropodidae: Aadvark Aardvark, Orycterops afer Ha: inyaga, 9/10 The Ha name for the aardvark (or ant bear) is cognate with names for the same mammal in some West Tanzania languages (including Nyamwezi and Sukuma: cf. Swynnerton 1946). OB described it as a large nocturnal animal which digs holes and eats termites. Normally only its tracks are seen in the daytime, and from his observation of these he deduced that it only has three claws on each foot. It is a long time, however, since any sign of aardvarks has been seen in Mtanga, and they appear to have disappeared. They are also absent from the list of mammals appended to the Gombe guide book. OB recalled seeing one in the hills above Mtanga some time before Tanganyika’s independence in 1961. This animal had been killed by a group of Twa hunters from Burundi. Twa (abatwa, 1/2) is the Rundi and Ha name for pygmies and/or similar aboriginal hunters (cf. Chubwa 1986: 13-14). According to OB the Twa used to follow aardvarks into their burrows in order to kill them for food. Order Artiodactyla Family Suidae: Pigs Bushpig, Potamochoerus porcus Ha: inguruwe, 9/10 Bembe: ngurube, 9/10
The Ha and Bembe names for the bushpig are reflexes of a common Bantu root (also Swahili nguruwe: the bushpig being called nguruwe mwitu to distinguish it from the domesticated Sus scrofa). Bushpigs are said to be responsible for more crop damege in Mtanga than any other mammal, with the exception of baboons. They attack both root and grain crops at night. Two informants, KB at Kazinga and a woman in OB’s household in central Mtanga, suggested that bushpigs generally raid from within the national park. The latter expressed the opinion that they are less of a menace than they were in the past (see above, under Chimpanzee). KB, however, reported that at Kazinga they are as active as ever. Whereas baboons are a daily problem, bushpigs only come in about one week in every two or three: and if they are driven away from a farm with a lot of noise they will not reappear for two or three days. The Bembe usually trap bushpigs with nooses made of manila string or fishing lines. Most people in Kazinga eat pig meat, the main exceptions being members of Muslim households (there are six Bembe and one Rundi Muslim households in the subvillage). According to KB there is no local market in bushpig meat, nor is the meat of any other wild mammal sold in Kazinga. The skin of dead bushpigs, like that of baboons, has no local use and is thrown away. Family Hippotamidae: Hippopotamuses Hippopotamus, Hippopotamus amphibius Bembe: eboko, 9/10 (?) KB described hippopotamuses as occasional visitors from the Burundian lakeshore, where they live (and are officially protected) in a river delta just north of the boundary with Tanzania. They are most likely to travel south when the rains have been particularly heavy (and presumably the river is flowing strongly). According to other sources two hippopotamuses were killed in Kigoma in 1996: it may be that they too had come from the north (the nearest population in the south is in the Malagarasi delta). Family Bovidae: Horned Ungulates Subfamily Bovinae African Buffalo, Syncerus cafer Although buffaloes were present in the national park until relatively recently (they were last recorded in the early 1980s, but subsequently eradicated by poaching: Murray 1992: 3), OB reported that they have never been seen at Mtanga. Bushbuck, Tragelaphus scriptus Ha: impongo, 9/10 Bembe: lulungu, 9/10 (?) Bushbucks (Swahili pongo) can still be seen in the hills above Mtanga. They are the primary target for local hunters. According to OB, the Ha traditionally hunted them (and other large mammals) with spears and dogs. These days they are often caught in wire traps, also used to trap bushpigs. According to KB, the Bembe use both spears and set noose-traps for bushbucks within the farming area. Hunting and
habitat destruction, however, seem to have severely dented the bushbuck population, and those which now appear in Kazinga mostly come from inside the national park. In the past bushbucks were abundant at Kazinga, and were caught and eaten almost every week. Now they might only be seen once a year (not in any particular season), and individual animals are killed and eaten only once every few years in the subvillage. Information from other sources, however, suggests that bushbucks are not quite so rare in the high hills, at least south of Kazinga. When available, bushbuck meat is eaten by almost everyone, regardless of religion or ethnic group. There is said to be a market for the meat in urban Kigoma, and it is reported that bushbucks are poached inside the national park for commercial as well as subsistence purposes. Other informants in Kazinga were quick to point out that these poachers do not come from the sub-village itself, but are outsiders who raid the park from elsewhere. Subfamily Cephalophinae Common Duiker, Sylvicapra grimmia Ha: ingelege, 9/10 Bembe: asha, 12/13 OB reported that there is still a population of Common Duikers (Swahili nsya) in the hills above Mtanga – they are not just visitors from the national park. In the past a lot of them were killed by hunters’ dogs: they are relatively easy to catch, and even now groups of boys and youths chase and catch them by hand. KB said that duikers are rarer than bushbucks at Kazinga: otherwise they are caught by the same methods and the meat is eaten by the same wide range of people. Unidentified ungulates [unidentified] [Ha: inzove, 9/10 OB described this as a bushbuck-like ungulate which is often seen in the vicinity of swampy areas. It is, he said, not found in the Gombe-Mtanga area, at least at present (did it occur in the past?). Haltenorth and Diller give ‘nzohe’ as a vernacular name for the Sitatunga, Tragelaphus spekii (1980: 60); another possible candidate is the Bohor Reedbuck, Redunca redunca (Swahili tohe).] Order Pholidota Family Manidae: Pangolins Ground Pangolin, Manis temminckii Ha: iyubi, 9/10 OB and other members of his household were unable to recall the Ha name for pangolins (Swahili kakakuona) until it was given by other man who had joined the discussion. The Ground Pangolin, also found in the national park, is said to prefer cliffs and steeps slopes, and to go into hiding when disturbed by noise. One middleaged woman (who suggested at first that its Ha name was something like ‘ache’) described how she had seen a pangolin at Kitibu when she was a child. She went on
to say that pangolins do not originate on earth, but come down from heaven: as a result the appearance of a pangolin requires special ritual actions to be taken by local ‘experts’. She was unable, however, to elaborate any further. Her tantalising report suggests a connection with the belief and practice of the Sangu of south-west Tanzania, who give special ritual treatment to heaven-sent pangolins and the individuals they are reputed to latch onto (treating both of them as though they were the parents of twins before eventually sacrificing the pangolin and burying it like a chief: for further details see Walsh 1995/96). Pangolins are certainly elusive, and KB had no knowledge of their existence in Kazinga. Order Rodentia Family Hystricidae: Porcupines Crested Porcupine, Hystrix cristata Ha: inunguli, 9/10 Bembe: fumba, 9/10 An easily identified species, which is also recorded as being present in the national park. It would be interesting to know whether the South African Porcupine, H.africae-australis also occurs: the range of the two species overlaps in midTanzania. According to OB porcupines are found in caves on the hillsides: some Ha eat them and some do not. KB reported that there were very few porcupines at Kazinga. He also noted that their meat is very good, though they are not eaten a lot by the Bembe (presumably because they are not easy to find). Bembe use porcupine quills both for decoration and medicinal purposes. Porcupine ashes (obtained after burning the animal) are also used by Bembe to treat burns. Family Thryonomyidae: Cane Rats Common Cane Rat, Thryonomys swinderianus Ha: indezi, 9/10 The Ha name for this mammal, which was described as being ‘like a rat’ (Swahili panya), is cognate with the proper name in Swahili (ndezi) and other Eastern Bantu languages for the Common Cane Rat (cf. Swynnerton 1946). The park guide notes the presence of this species in Gombe: it is possible that the Lesser Cane Rat, T.gregorianus, also occurs in the area, and is described by the same Ha name. OB noted that the indezi feeds upon grass (which cane rats indeed do) and is captured and eaten by the Ha in Mtanga. Unidentified rodents / insectivores [unidentified] Bembe: msuli, 1/2 Described as one of two kinds of ‘rat’ (Swahili panya) found in Kazinga: this is the ‘ordinary rat’, in other words the more common. This may be the most common rat associated with human settlement, the Black Rat, Rattus rattus, or another species. This rat is not eaten by the Bembe.
[unidentified] Bembe: chunge, 9/10 This was described as a second kind of ‘rat’ (Swahili panya) which leaves a smell when it passes. Said to be present but not very common in Kazinga. The imprecision of the Swahili term (at least in local usage) leaves open the possibility that the Bembe name refers to a kind of shrew (insectivore) rather than a rodent. This mammal is also not eaten by the Bembe. [unidentified] Bembe: si’a, 9/10 KB described this as a long-snouted, rat-coloured, mammal in the ‘rat family’ (Swahili jamii ya panya). It is found especially on farms in Kazinga, living underground and burrowing under the soil to eat cassava tubers. He gave its ‘Swahili’ name as fukwe, which is cognate with the Nyaturu name for both Stuhlmann’s Golden Mole, Chrysochloris stuhlmanni (an insectivore), and the Silvery Mole-rat, Heliophobius argenteocinereus (a rodent). The Standard Swahili term applied to both of these mammals is fuko (Swynnerton 1946). The Bembe term therefore probably applies to either the golden mole (of which there is only one species known in East Africa) and/or one or more species of mole-rat (Family Bathyergidae). Some Bembe in Kazinga trap and eat them (the same people who also eat baboons). They are caught either with noose-traps set over their burrows or by building a kind of trap (called lukoko, ?9/10) which sends sticks and stones crashing down on them when they emerge into the open. Order Lagomorpha Family Leporidae: Hares ? Cape Hare, Lepus capensis Ha: ikarugwe, 9/10 (?) Bembe: alulu, 12/13 The presence of hares (Swahili sungura), although not noted in the national park guide, was confirmed by both principal informants. They are reported to be plentiful at Kazinga, close to the park boundary, and also present on the hills further south. It is possible that more than one species of hare / rabbit is found. Definite identification of the species concerned, whether one or more, must await the collection of specimens.
Conclusion The above notes are largely based upon brief interviews with just two informants, one Ha speaker and one Bembe speaker, and it is regretted that in the time available it was not possible to widen the sample to include, among others, active hunters. There are clearly many gaps which remain to be filled, and it is hoped that others will be stimulated by reading this paper into taking up this task. Research at Gombe Stream National Park has, quite understandably, been chimpanzee and other primate-
oriented; and there is evidently considerable scope for investigating other elements of the park’s mammalian fauna, and its past and present history. The perceptions and practices of the people living around the park are part and parcel of this history, and will undoubtedly play an equally important role in its future. Ethnozoological (including ethnomammalogical) research provides one route into these perceptions and practices, and can contribute to our understanding of past and present interactions between human and animal populations, as well as provide important information for planning actions designed to ensure a sustainable future for both.
Special thanks are due to my two principal informants, Mzee Omari Bulio and Kamili Barabara, for their hospitality and patience in answering my questions. I hope that I have recorded and interpreted their words faithfully, and apologise in advance for any errors which I may have made.
References Bygott, D. 1992. Gombe Stream National Park. Arusha: Tanzania National Parks / African Wildlife Foundation. Chubwa, P. 1986 . Waha: Historia na Maendeleo [The Ha: History and Development] (second edition). Tabora: TMP Book Department. Davies, G. and Vanden Berghe, E. (eds.) 1994. Check-list of the Mammals of East Africa. Nairobi: East Africa Natural History Society. Goodall, J. 1988 . Houghton Mifflin. In the Shadow of Man (revised edition). Boston:
Haltenorth, T. and Diller, H. 1980. A Field Guide to the Mammals of Africa including Madagascar (trans. Robert W. Hayman). London: Collins. Swynnerton, G. H. 1946. ‘Vernacular Names for Some of the Better-known Mammals in the Central Province, Tanganyika Territory’, Tanganyika Notes and Records, 21, 21-38. Walsh, M. T. 1995/96. ‘The Ritual Sacrifice of Pangolins among the Sangu of South-west Tanzania’, Bulletin of the International Committee on Urgent Anthropological and Ethnological Research, 37/38, 155-170. Walsh, M. T. 1997a. A Preliminary Glossary of Ha Plant Names: Ethnobotany in and around Gombe Stream National Park, Western Tanzania. Kigoma: Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project.
Walsh, M. T. 1997b. Snakes and other Reptiles in Mtanga: Preliminary Notes on Ha Ethnoherpetology in a Village bordering Gombe Stream National Park, Western Tanzania. Kigoma: Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project. Walsh, M. T., Said, L., Marwa, B. and Banister, K. 1996. Fish and Fishing in the River Mungonya at Bubango, Kigoma District, Tanzania. Kigoma: Lake Tanganyika Biodiversity Project.
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