Introduction to 'Wild Life: The Institution of Nature'
Introduction to "Wild Life: The Institution of Nature," Stanford University Press, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2015
Date Written: 2015
Wild Life documents a nuanced understanding of the wild versus captive divide in species conservation. It also documents the emerging understanding that all forms of wild nature — both in situ (on-site) and ex situ (in captivity) — may need to be managed in perpetuity. Providing a unique window into the high-stakes world of nature conservation, Irus Braverman describes the heroic efforts by conservationists to save wild life. Yet in the shadows of such dedication and persistence in saving the life of species, Wild Life also finds sacrifice and death. Such life and death stories outline the modern struggle to define what conservation should look like at a time when the long-established definitions of nature have collapsed.
Wild Life begins with the plight of a tiny endangered snail, and ends with the rehabilitation of an entire island. Interwoven between its pages are stories about golden lion tamarins in Brazil, black-footed ferrets in the American Plains, Sumatran rhinos in Indonesia, Tasmanian devils in Australia, and many more creatures both human and nonhuman. Braverman draws on interviews with more than one hundred and twenty conservation biologists, zoologists, zoo professionals, government officials, and wildlife managers to explore the various perspectives on in situ and ex situ conservation and the blurring of the lines between them.
Keywords: wild, captive, conservation, ethnography, in situ/ex situ management, biopolitics, life, endangered species
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