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Oso, osito ¿a qué venís? Andean Bear Conflict, Conservation and Campesinos in the Colombian Páramos

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JournalSustainability
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Aug 2021
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article proposes a historical, multispecies and ontological approach to human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the Colombian páramos. Focusing on the páramos surrounding the capital city of Bogotá, we reconstruct the historically changing relationship between cattle-farming campesino communities and the Andean bear, Tremarctos ornatus. Using ethnographic and historical research methods, we conceptualise this relationship as embedded in localised landscapes and multispecies assemblages, in which scientists, conservation practitioners, water infrastructures, public environmental agencies, and cows participate as well. This article demonstrates that in-sufficient attention to the practices and relationships of historically marginalised humans and non-humans in the management of HWCs contributes to new dynamics of exclusion and friction, and can reduce the effectiveness of conservation programmes. We conclude that opening up conservation to the interests and knowledges of local communities is imperative in moving towards more historically informed, pluralistic and effective conservation strategies.

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