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Blurring boundaries: Feral rewilding, biosecurity and contested wild boar belonging in England

O'Mahony, Kieron ORCID: 2020. Blurring boundaries: Feral rewilding, biosecurity and contested wild boar belonging in England. Conservation and Society 18 (2) , pp. 114-125. 10.4103/cs.cs_19_39

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Unsanctioned life is often categorised as ‘feral’, a value-embedded term that orders non-humans in relation to various temporal-spatial, genetic or behavioural logics. Such labelling is frequently used to marginalise risky, undesirable life and allow space for strategies of control and regulation. Feral natures, however, might also be understood as an important, though frequently ignored, form of rewilding situated where strategies of conservation and biosecurity converge. Using the example of (re)introduced wild boar (Sus scrofa) in England as ‘feral rewilding’ in action, this paper considers how the politics around their presence are contested by actors who hold different understandings of wild boar and human-nonhuman relations more broadly. After a multi-century absence, over the last three decades farmed wild boar have escaped and been deliberately released, occasionally establishing autonomous and self-sustaining populations. This is most visible in the Forest of Dean where their unfamiliar presence has increasingly reconfigured social relations. Being categorised as ‘feral’ as a strategy of governance is a contributing factor to a fraught political landscape where wild boar belonging is constantly questioned.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Medknow Publications
ISSN: 0972-4923
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 7 October 2019
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2024 17:22

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