Conservation and the Production of Wildlife as Resource

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Contribution to Books

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Despite its allure of wildness and timelessness, wildlife is a natural resource that has been produced as such through a series of human-led interventions. In this chapter, we chart wildlife's ongoing and shifting production as resource through the practice and science of wildlife conservation and draw attention to the values that underpin this production. We begin with the early days of conservation and move through the contemporary commodification and militarization of wildlife as resource. Through this movement, we highlight both how the production of wildlife reflects processes of resource-making highlighted by the critical resource geography literature as well as how wildlife is distinct. We also show how conservation's production of wildlife has led to additional forms of world-making that produce not just animals but new categories of the human, namely “the poacher.” We close by examining the possible danger of exposing wildlife as a human-produced resource especially in the age of antienvironmental activism and suggest how we might begin to address this.