Main Article Content
This article explores the cultural beliefs and practices of Ethiopian Oromo society’s related to the Northern Ground-Hornbill (the Hornbill) (Bucorvus abyssinicus), a vulnerable bird species native to Africa, and consequences of these beliefs and practices on conservation of the species. A netnography research approach, via Facebook platform, was employed to identify and describe the cultural beliefs and practices. Accordingly, text comments posted by Facebook users in response to a question asking the cultural significances of the Hornbill posted on a popular community Facebook page, which then was shared by many Facebook users, were collected from 59 Facebook pages both through observation and participation techniques. A total of 870 discrete text comment posts were downloaded on 27 December 2019 from the 59 Facebook pages and analyzed. Data were analyzed by means of qualitative, thematic content analysis. Four main themes and 14 categories (types of beliefs and practices) were emerged from the data that elucidated Oromo cultural beliefs and practices related to the Hornbill. The
Hornbill is viewed as: a signal of good omen (i.e., as signifier of child delivery, gaining wealth, longevity and fortune); curator from disease and protector from harmful animals; omen of bad luck (death/loss); and time indicator (season change). These findings show that Hornbill has significant cultural values to the Oromo society and that some of the cultural practices appeared to be having negative influence on the species’ survival. Knowledge gained from this study can contribute to conservation of the species, for example, by reinforcing the practices assumed to have potentially protective influences, and by implementing intervention strategies on the practices having destructive consequences.