Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
In recent decades, models of environmental and wildlife conservation have been undergoing a transformation from exclusionary human-population resettlement schemes to more inclusive approaches that purportedly employ, partner, and collaborate with indigenous communities. Academic attitudes surrounding human-animal relationships, in particular, are shifting from human-wildlife conflict (HWC) as the 'bottom line' of such relations, suggesting a materialist basis of resource competition, to considerations that take seriously the multifarious sets of local values and socioeconomic factors informing how people live with, around, or near wildlife. Using for an example my field site at the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat, India, I will describe how the Indian Forest Department has implemented collaborative park-management strategies with the pastoral Maldhari community in their efforts to protect the Asiatic lion population. Through this case study I will explore the points of disconnect and convergence between operational state frameworks of participatory conservation and the burgeoning lines of theoretical inquiry including multispecies ethnography and the politics of landscapes.