Documentation and Description of the Ethnobotany and Ethnozoology of the Zay Ethnolinguistic Group

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


The Zay people are known for their interaction with plants and animals in which their traditional knowledge, culture and language are expressed. However, despite the existence of rich indigenous practices related to the ethnobotany and ethnozoology of this ethnolinguistic group, this people remain unexplored and no comprehensive account of their plant and animal utilization is available. In addition, due to lack of sufficient land for residence and farming, many members of the Zay community are migrating from their area to the nearby towns (Endashaw 2010:4). Therefore, the situation calls for an urgent action to collect and document their indigenous knowledge and practices including those plants and animals. Hence, the aim of this study is to describe and document the ethnobotany and ethnozoology of the Zay ethnolinguistic group. Ethnobotanical and ethnozoological fieldwork was conducted using relevant data collection tools including interview guides, audio recorder and photography. The fieldwork was conducted in five islands, namely: Fundurro, Tsedecha, Debra Tsiyon (Tullu Guddo), Gelilla and Debre Sina from mid of January to end of April, 2014. Permits for conducting the research, collecting, and export of voucher specimen were obtained from the authorities of the area and the Zay community. The findings of this study indicate that the Zay ethnolinguistic group has a wide range of utilization of plants and animals for several purposes. However, the influence of migration and modernization is putting significant negative impact on the indigenous knowledge of the study area. At the same time, the linguistic analysis on naming indicated that a significant number of plants and animals are named in other languages. Therefore, it is recommended to perform more language revitalization work including the commencement of community radio in Zay. There are wild animals and fish species that are endangered. Thus, serious attention needs to be given.



traditional knowledge, culture and language, are expressed However