Contentious Diversities and Dangerous Species: Biocultural Diversity in the Context of Human-Animal Conflicts


Whose diversity should be valued in a situation where the coexistence of certain species is disharmonious and conflict-ridden? Should cultural or biological endurance be secured in conservation contexts, where managing interspecies relationships depends on the policing of strict boundaries between humans and “wilderness”? Whom should we privilege when the survival of highly endangered (and dangerous) species seemingly depends on the creation of human-free spaces? This article engages with such questions by focusing on the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary of Kerala in southern India, arguing that a reconceptualization of both “culture” and “nature” will be necessary in order to prevent the concept of biocultural diversity from appearing as just another form of “green neocolonization” or “eco-imperialism.”