Rethinking Wildlife Management –

Living With Wild Animals

How to live together with wild animals? A cohabitation practice in which humans do not continue to control wild animals. A practice that does not aim to separate wild animals from humans. That is what I have been investigating while conducting my research as part of my PhD-research.

Increase Human-Wildlife conflicts

Worldwide conflicts between humans and wild animal continue to increase. We need to change the way we deal with these situations in order to prevent or control these kind of human-wildlife conflicts. Current management of ‘problem animals’ is often focused on controlling the respective wild animals and to separate humans from wild animals as much as possible. However, this type of management is no longer acceptable. The increase in human-wildlife conflicts worldwide ànd the growing scientific insights into animal sensibilities and beings that learn, remember and adapt, requires another way of cohabitation than that is conventionally known. So, another approach is needed. That is what this research is about.

Dynamic approach

In this book (PhD-thesis) I describe a dynamic approach to manage human-wildlife conflicts and wildlife management in general. Thereby the focus is on the relations among humans, wild animals and the landscape in which they dwell. Two cases are discussed. First, how conflicts are managed between humans and black bears on the Colorado Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, USA. Second, how is dealt with conflicts between humans and wild boars at the Veluwe, the Netherlands. Subsequently I describe various cohabitation strategies. Each of them centralizes the processes and relations between humans, wild animals and landscapes.

Wild animals as participants

The book ends by stating that to pursue cohabitation between humans and wild animals, wild animals need to be acknowledged as participants of these human-wildlife management practices. This is not impossible. However, it is a daunting challenge.

Or read my PhD thesis online.

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What do others say about me?

“I know Susan as a hardworking, independent, dedicated researcher who takes initiative and is sensitive to details. Susan has organized her field research very efficiently and has also secured several scholarships to finance her fieldwork. She has conducted many in-depth interviews, made several participatory observations and organized several focus groups for her fieldwork. She did that in a relatively short period of time and without prior entry into the relevant wildlife management practices (in the Netherlands and the USA), She has a refreshing view on the study and management of human-animal conflicts.”

Esther Turnhout
Full Professor ‘The Politics of Environmental Knowledge’ – Wageningen University

“I know Susan Boonman-Berson as a dedicated researcher of conflicts (and in finding solutions) around wildlife management, especially concerning wild animals: from wild boars at the Veluwe to bears at the Rocky Mountains.”

Clemens Driessen
Assistant Professor in Animal Politics and Technology – Wageningen University

Curious to watch a short video pitch about this research?

Overview other scientific publications

Next to this book, I have written various scientific articles in different scientific journals:

Boonman-Berson, S., & Van Bommel, S. (forthcoming) Multispecies-ethnographies in exploring human-(wild) animal interactions. In: Colombino, A. and Steinkrüger, J. E. (Eds.). Methods in human-animal studies: the question(s) of animal(s) in practice. To be published in the Routledge Human-Animal Studies Series2018

Boonman-Berson, S., Driessen, C., Turnhout, E. (2019) Managing wild minds: From control by numbers to a multinatural approach in wild boar management at the Veluwe the Netherlands. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 44, pp. 2–15

Boonman-Berson, S. (2018) Rethinking Wildlife Management: Living With Wild Animals. PhD-Thesis.

Boonman-Berson, S., E. Turnhout, and M. Carolan (2016) Common Sensing: Human-black bear cohabitation practices in Colorado. Geoforum, 74, pp. 192-201

Boonman-Berson, S. (2016) Blurred boundaries in wildlife management practices. In: Bovenkerk, B. and Keulartz, J. (Eds). Animal Ethics in the Age of Humans: Blurring boundaries in human-animal relationships: Springer.

2015 and before
Boonman-Berson, S., E. Turnhout, J. van Tatenhove (2014) Invasive species: The categorization of wildlife in science, policy, and wildlife management. Land Use Policy, 38, pp. 204-212

Boonman-Berson, S.H. Living together or living apart: That is the question in wildlife management today. Conference paper for IPA international conference: Wageningen the Netherlands

Boonman-Berson, S.H. & E. Turnhout (2013) Globalising Biodiversity: Scientific Practices of Scaling and Databasing. In: Arts, B.; Behagel, J.; van Bommel, S.; Koning, J.; Turnhout, E. (Eds). Forest and Nature Governance: A practice Based Approach: Springer, Dordrecht the Netherlands

Turnhout, E. & Boonman-Berson, S.H. (2011). Databases, scaling practices, and the globalization of biodiversity. Ecology and Society, 16(1), 35

Boonman-Berson, S. Invasiveness: the construction of a category and its impact for conservation and recreation practices. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on monitoring and Management of Visitor Flows in Recreational and Protected Areas (2010, May 30 – June 3, Wageningen, the Netherlands, p. 306-307)

Boonman-Berson, S.H. (2007). Samenspel tussen bomen en bouwen (English: Interplay between trees and building), Bomenstichting (Niet-wetenschappelijk boek)