Bicho bandido

Wild boars, biological invasions and landscape transformations on the Brazilian–Uruguayan border (Pampas region)

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Caetano SordiNational Institute of Historical and Artistical Heritage (IPHAN)

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In this paper, I discuss the reactions to European wild boars () in the Brazilian–Uruguayan border region from an ethnographic point of view. Drawing on the concept of taskscape, I explore the reasons why these animals are regarded as ‘bandits’ by local agents, as well as the differences in perception between the threat posed by boars and by other non‐native species also present in the Pampa biome, such as Australian eucalyptus ( sp.), Pinus ( sp) and South‐African tough lovegrass (). By contrasting scientific and local views of ‘invasive species’, I argue that the reactions to are connected to the transformations that the Pampa landscape has been undergoing throughout its socio‐environmental history. Namely, the deeply agonistic pattern of human–animal relations that constituted the prairie, as well as the tensions concerning the relations of property and labour in rural areas. Furthermore, in line with the approach that sees landscapes as shaped by different ‘tasks’, I explore local notions of ‘work’ in order to offer an alternative interpretation for the problem of biological invasions, beyond the territorial approach that permeates the literature on the subject.

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