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Encounters on the Frontier: Banteng in Australia’s Northern Territory

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AbstractThis paper considers the case of an introduced species that resides in what is now a jointly managed national park in the north of tropical Australia. Banteng (Bos javanicus) are a peculiar feral nonhuman animal in that they constitute a potential environmental threat within the domestic conservation goals of the park, but they also hold the prospect of being a major genetic resource in the international conservation of the species. Thus, perspectives on the use and management of these animals are varied between different actors in the park landscape, and are subject to fluctuations over time, especially in response to wider social and political circumstances. This paper argues that seemingly objective views of these animals are actually a series of subjectivities, which have less to do with any concrete aspects of the animals themselves and more to do with the way that particular people orient themselves toward, and within, the landscape.

Affiliations: 1: University of California, Davis, CaliforniaCharles Darwin


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