Bracketing Braverman: Thinking and Acting for Wildlife Conservation after Nature

Geoffrey Wandesforde-Smith
2016 Journal of international wildlife law and policy  
I When she decided to write Zooland, 1 a book about zoos, Irus Braverman hit on the disarmingly simple strategy of asking people who manage zoos what they thought they were doing. In her next book, Wild Life, 2 Braverman essentially followed the same method 3 and ultimately conducted more than 120 interviews. She spoke with conservation biologists and wildlife managers around the world, as well as other people who work with wildlife and with wildlife law and policy every day in government
more » ... es, conservation NGOs, and zoos (after all, the best and most ambitious zoos have for some time now thought of themselves as vital agents in the global enterprise of saving wildlife). 4 What does the work of saving wildlife involve? How do the people doing the work think and talk about what they do? And if in some cases, the wildlife they save does not actually appear to be very wild, what appreciable differences are there any more between zoo life and wild life, between wilderness and captivity, and between nature and culture? Braverman was initially intrigued by these questions because of the way zoo people talked to her about the distinction between in situ and ex situ conservation, and she wanted to unpack the meaning of those terms for the benefit of herself and her readers. So her second book has a lot to say about the in situ/ex situ distinction, and about the blurring of that distinction. The chapters of the book are arranged in a way that turns a seemingly simple distinction into a complex and intriguing continuum of sites where conservation work is occurring. From my point of view, however, and from the perspective of wildlife professionals who have lived for some time with the distinction between in situ and ex situ conservation, as well as with its imminent and perhaps inevitable and
doi:10.1080/13880292.2016.1167476 fatcat:yesj2hzqr5echmpa3o4q77wwj4