Inventing a Beast with No Body: Radio-Telemetry, the Marginalization of Animals, and the Simulation of Ecology

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

Radio-telemetry is a relatively new technology that is having powerful impacts on the way wildlife is studied. With tens of thousands of new radio-telemetry units produced each year, to be placed on animals in the wild, it is a technology that is becoming increasingly pervasive. This paper begins by examining the way radio-telemetry has been adapted for the study of macaws in Latin America. The paper argues that as a form of surveillance and monitoring, radio-telemetry illustrates some ways in which Michel Foucault's concepts of "biopower" and surveillance can be applied to the management of wildlife. Additionally, as the new technology creates a greater sense of distance between the "sign" of a creature and its actual reality, wild animals seem to become what Jean Baudrillard terms "simulations", in which they are increasingly signs of their own disappearance—both as creatures and as species.

Inventing a Beast with No Body: Radio-Telemetry, the Marginalization of Animals, and the Simulation of Ecology

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

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