About the proyect

Project Tensions between cultural practices and nature conservation. Looking for an approach between hunting and protected natural areas in the eastern region of Uruguay

This project aims to understand the relationships between hunting and conservation of nature with emphasis on the eastern region of Uruguay, aiming at a better practice of these activities (hunting and conservation), promoting greater dialogue and exploring synergies between the actors involved. The research strategy is based on understanding hunting from an anthropological perspective and knowing the tensions between hunting, the management of protected areas and other actors involved.

Hunting and Conservation in Uruguay

Centro Universitario Regional del EsteUniversidad de la República. Rocha, Uruguay.

Project Hunting, conservation and biosecurity: the case of the biological invasion of wild boar in Uruguay

Funded by the Scientific Research Sector Commission, Universidad de la República, Uruguay (2019-2022).

In this project we propose to understand the historical process that has turned it into a plague, considering the institutional arguments and devices behind this statement, also analyzing a series of consequences at the level of speeches and practices. The declaration of plague implies a cosmology in which the animals are arranged in a multispecific map that separates them into productive and unproductive, domestic and wild, native and exotic, dangerous and friendly animals, etc. In the case of wild boar, we propose that its ferality (which has turned it throughout history into an animal that represents struggle and resistance), operates preferentially in this animal cartography. All these discourses, practices and institutional design are the aspects on which we will focus. The proposed approach is based on human-animal studies on hunting from an anthropological perspective, using traditional techniques of anthropology and other more specific historiography, ethnobiology and social network analysis.

 

Project Tensions between cultural practices and nature conservation. Looking for an approach between hunting and protected natural areas in the eastern region of Uruguay

Funded by Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación (Uruguay). 2017-2019

This project aims to understand the relationships between hunting and conservation of nature with emphasis on the eastern region of Uruguay, aiming at a better practice of these activities (hunting and conservation), promoting greater dialogue and exploring synergies between the actors involved. The research strategy is based on understanding hunting from an anthropological perspective and knowing the tensions between hunting, the management of protected areas and other actors involved. One of the issues we specifically consider is poaching in the Laguna de Rocha Protected Landscape, where poaching represents a serious problem for the management of the area. On the other hand, it is intended to understand how hunting practices have been affected by the establishment of protected areas in spaces where, before this environmental regulation, hunting was done freely with the authorization of the owners. The project is based on an ethnographic approach from a perspective that articulates the great positions of the new ecologies (historical, symbolic and political) with ethnobiology. In addition to generating scientific information, we propose to develop a manual of good hunting practices, generate a space for dialogue between the actors involved and make a normative proposal on hunting.

Some of the problems that led us to be interested in the subject

How we work?

Teamwork in anthropology with an interdisciplinary perspective

The team is made up mostly of anthropologists but also of other disciplines such as biology, veterinary science, economics, law and environmental management. It is also made up of hunters and conservationists. The team members are in Uruguay but a large part are geographically separated. That is why we have developed a form of collaborative work based on the use of collaborative software and regular meetings. With the collaborative software we centralize the resources with which we work (audios, videos, bibliography, images, etc.) and we make them accessible among all the members. We all follow the project work since we use the Trello software that allows us to follow all the progress. The bibliography is managed through EndNote and the analysis of digital resources with NVivo, which allows us to index the information and share the structure and the analysis categories themselves.

How do we generate information? What is our field work?

What are our research questions?

What is the institutionality of hunting in Uruguay? What are the differences between sport and poaching? How is the ecology and spatiality of hunting? What is the cosmology of hunters? What are the main motivations involved in hunting? How has territorial planning affected hunting in the 20th century? How is the national hunting regulations considered for the main actors involved? What are the main impacts generated by poaching on the actors involved?

Only research?

No.

We are interested in answering our research questions but we are also oriented to approach stakeholders involved in conservation and hunting. As we progressed in the work we could know that there is a much more complex web of actors linked to the claim of the rights of the animals, the conservation of the native species, the fight against some exotic species, the control of the livestock production and agricultural, among others.

In addition to working together with all these actors, we intend to look for cross- cutting issues that promote dialogue and that can help improve the management of all these practices and discourses.

What are we doing at academic level?

  • Juan Martin Dabezies presented the work “Wild boar hunting: Between biosecurity, conservation and tradition”. Seminar Series of the Center for Biocultural Diversity. School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, UK.
    Juan Martin Dabezies presented the paper “Invasvive species and ecological imperialism in South America. Current interactions between wood industry, wild boars, perroquets and hunters in Uruguay ‘” in Cambridge as part of the Political Ecology seminar series held at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. 2020
  • Juan Martin Dabezies presented the work “Wild boar hunting: between biosecurity, nature conservation and cultural tradition” in the seminar series of the Center for Research in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Roehampton, London, UK. 2019
  • We participated in the Workshop entitled Can hunting manage the overabundance of wild boars? held within the framework of the event “Predicting the effects of African Swine Fever on hunting and conservation of biodiversity in Spain”. The event took place on November 28, 2019 at the Institute for Research in Hunting Resources (Higher Council for Scientific Research), Ciudad Real, Spain.
  • Juan Martin Dabezies presented the work “Impacts of the Biosecurity and Conservation Biology Discourse around the Control of Wild Boar Expansion in South America: the Case of Uruguay” at the Workshop Emigrating Animals and Migratory Humans.  Organised by Luděk Brož, Giovanna Capponi, Paul Keil, Jiří Krejčík & Virginie Vaté Kindly supported by Strategy 21 – Global Conflicts and Local Interactions & Institute of Ethnology and Institute of Sociology, Czech Academy of Sciences (CAS) and CEFRES (CNRS-MEAE). Prague. September 2019.
  • Academic visit. Juan Martin Dabezies. UNiversity of Kent and University of Roehampton, UK (2019-2020)
  • Paper Dabezies, J. M. 2019. Discursos y tensiones entre caza, conservación y derechos de los animales en Uruguay. Etnobiología, 17(2), 11-24. 
  • Juan Martin Dabezies has participated in the workshop “Porcine Futures 1: Re-negotiating Wilderness in More-than-human Worlds”, with the presentation “Hunting of wild boar in Uruguay: global discourses and local conflicts”. CEFRES/Institute of Ethnology CAS (with the Swedish Hunting Association). Prague, Czech Republic. 16-17 October 2018.
  • Discussion of the project in the Arctic Domus Reading Group, Department of Anthropology, University of Aberdeen. Dabezies, J., 2017. “Hunting and nature conservation in Uruguay. First results and future lines”. 
  • Presentations at congresses:
    • Antonio di Candia presented the work “The imagined hunting: identity construction at the Aiguà Boar Festival in Uruguay”. XIII Reunião de Antropologia do Mercosul. Porto Alegre, Brazil. June 2019.
    • Dabezies, J., Chouhy, M., 2017. Ontologies of conservation: perceptions of nature, hunting and conservationism in Uruguay, V Congress Latin American Association of Anthropology. Latin American Association of Anthropology, Bogotá, Colombia.
    • Dabezies, J., Chouhy, M., 2016. Speeches, senses and practices of hunting in Uruguay, Third Interdisciplinary Seminar on Biodiversity and Ecology. CURE-UdelaR, Rocha, Uruguay.
    • Dabezies, J., Chouhy, M., Rodríguez, L., 2016. Hunting as a scientific problem, Third Interdisciplinary Conference on Biodiversity and Ecology. CURE-UdelaR, Rocha, Uruguay.
    • Dabezies, J., 2018a. The peccaries that died for us. On how hunting became a national debate in Uruguay, 56th Congress of Americanists. University of Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain.
    • Dabezies, J., 2018b. Recent processes of institutionalization of hunting in Uruguay. Tensions and methodological challenges for anthropology, V International Congress of Anthropology AIBR. Iberoamerican Anthropologists in Red, Granada, Spain.
  • Coordinations of round tables and academic events on the subject of hunting:
    • Symposium “Recreational hunting in Ibero-American contexts: an approach from anthropology” (JM Dabezies and Santiago Montero Coordinators, V International Congress of Anthropology AIBR, September 2018, Granada, Spain).
    • Roundtable “Hunting and conservation of nature” (Coord. JM Dabezies and L Rodríguez, III Interdisciplinary Conference on Biodiversity and Ecology, Eastern Regional University Center (CURE), UdelaR. Nov/dic. 2016. Rocha, Uruguay)
  • Academic publications: Dabezies, J.M., Taks, J., 2017. Who are the animals that belong to no one? Trama. Journal of Culture and Heritage 8 (8), 81-89.

What are we doing with society and students?

  • Document “Proposal for discussion of hunting at national level”. 2019. Authors: Juan Martin Dabezies, José Sciandro, Lorena Rodríguez, Pablo González, Antonio di Candia, Magdalena Chouhy, Leticia Poliak, Faundo Rodríguez, Florencia Abal. Delivered to DINAMA.
  • Dialogue workshops between hunters, nature managers, park rangers, police, rural producers and representatives of animal and conservation NGOs. We did 3 workshops on 2018 where we discused the current hunting and conservation regulations and prepared a document proposal. 
  • Institutional internships: as a result of the work carried out in the project, strong links were created with the managers of the protected area Laguna de Rocha Protected Landscape (National System of Protected Areas) and the Career Commission of the Degree in Environmental Management (CURE, UdelaR ). In this framework, a call for curricular internships was held on the subject of hunting in the protected area. 
  • Participation in national areas of discussion on the subject:
    • Participation in the public discussion event “The future of hunting in Uruguay-Part II”, organized by the National Environment Directorate. Balmoral Hotel, Montevideo. Assistance of about 80 people (full), from conservation groups, nature managers, tour operators (hunting tourism, and hunters).
    • Invited to the national discussion What future for hunting in Uruguay ?, carried out by DINAMA (MVOTMA, Uruguay). Chouhy, M., Rodríguez- Gallego, L., 2017. “Hunting and conservation in Uruguay.” First approximations.
    • Participation as guests in the Conference on Wild Boar, Hunting and Sanitary Vigilance, with the presentation “Hunting in Uruguay today. First results “(2018). Participation in the Maldonado, Cerro Largo, Treinta y Tres and Montevideo / Canelones events. Organized by the MGAP, National Association of Hunters, DINAMA, CNEEI.
  • Specific Courses of Permanent Education and Improvement:
    • Course (20 hs.) “Wild boar hunting: biosecurity, plague and tradition”. Centro Universitario Regional del Este, Universidad de la República, Rocha, Uruguay. September 19 to 21, 2018. Teachers: Dr. Bruno Carpinetti (Professor at the National Arturo Jauretche University, Argentina), Caetano Sordi (Professor at the University of Caxias do Sul, Brazil), Dr. Juan Martin Dabezies (Professor of CURE, Uruguay), Dr. Gustavo Castro (Technician of the Health Programs Department of the General Directorate of Livestock Services of the Ministry of Livestock, Ariculture and Fisheries – Assistant Professor of the Suinos Area of the Faculty of Veterinary, UdelaR, Uruguay), Dr. Martin Altuna (In charge of the Livestock Services Zonal Artigas, Ministry of Livestock, Ariculture and Fisheries, Uruguay), Ing. Agr. Javier Frade (Uruguayan Secretariat of the Wool), Lic. Carlos Prigioni (Intendance of Treinta y Tres), Pablo González (provider of control services of the boar).
    • “Perception, uses and conservation of fauna with emphasis on the hunting of large mammals” (CURE, Rocha, 2017)”
    • An approach to the study of human-animal relations in South America” (Faculty of Humanities and Education Sciences, UdelaR, 2017)
    • “Wild boar hunting: biosecurity, plague and tradition” (CURE, Rocha, scheduled for September 2018).

Where are we going?

We are interested in studying the historical process and the impact of the wild boar’s declaration as a national pest in Uruguay, in terms of discourses and practices related to biosecurity and biological invasions.

Another issue that we are exploring is the role of the dog in hunting and in other urban and rural areas. The national discussion around hunting has mobilized actors and speeches that have activated speeches and representations about the dog in Uruguay.

Team members

Main members of the project

Juan Martin Dabezies is the person in charge and principal investigator of the project. He is an anthropologist (University of the Republic) and doctor of history (University of Santiago de Compostela). He is currently a professor of ethnobiology at the Eastern Regional University Center (University of the Republic). Contact: jmdabezies@cure.edu.uy.
Lorena Rodríguez-Gallego is biologist, conservationist and doctor in ecology (University of the Republic). She is a professor at the Eastern Regional University Center (University of the Republic). Her interest focuses on the role of hunting as a controller of exotic species and the impact of poaching on native species. Contact: dunachirca@gmail.com.
Antonio di Candia is an anthropologist (University of the Republic), specialist in Intangible Heritage. He is studying the relationships that are woven around the “Fiesta del Jabalí” of Aiguá (Maldonado, Uruguay). Contact: adicandia@gmail.com.
Magdalena Chouhy is an anthropologist (University of the Republic), specialist in human- animal studies. She is doing his master’s thesis in human-animal relations in Paso Centurión (Cerro Largo, Uruguay), where the declaration of a protected natural area is being promoted. Contact: magdalenachouhy@gmail.com.
Leticia Poliak is an anthropologist (University of the Republic), specialist in environmental anthropology. She is working on the perception of hunting that animal and conservation NGOs have. Her master’s thesis will be aimed at studying the different ways of understanding dogs in different types of contexts. Contact: letipoliak@gmail.com.
José Sciandro is a doctor of law (University of the Republic). He is a professor at the Regional University Center of the East (University of the Republic) and works on environmental legislation issues in Uruguay. Contact: jose.sciandro@gmail.com.
Maria Fernanda de Torres Álvarez is an anthropologist (University of the Republic) and PhD in anthropology (Paul Valery University). She is a specialist in the study of human-environmental relations. Contact: mfdetorres@gmail.com.
Facundo Rodríguez is a hunter and an advanced student of the Degree in Environmental Management of CURE. Although his interest lies in the intersection between hunting and conservation, he is very interested in the hunting of wild boar (Sus scrofa) from environmental management. Contact: facundo22.09.1995@gmail.com.
Florencia Abal is an advanced student of the Degree in Environmental Management of CURE. She is working on the spatiality of poaching in the Laguna de Rocha Protected Landscape Protected Area based on the use of Geographic Information Systems. Contact: abalflor@gmail.com.
Pablo González is a hunter. It is our reference in the themes of big game in the project. He has hunting experience in Uruguay and Argentina. Contact: pablogza2012@gmail.com.

Researchers and professionals associated with the project

Enrique is in charge of the Department of Mammals of the National Museum of Natural History (Ministry of Education and Culture), Montevideo, Uruguay. Enrique is one of the greatest experts in fauna (with emphasis on mammals) of Uruguay. Contact: emgonzalezuy@gmail.com.
Gustavo Castro is a veterinarian, technician of the Health Programs Department of the General Directorate of Livestock Services of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries. He is also Assistant Professor of the Pigs Area of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Uruguay. Gustavo works in the sanitary monitoring of the boar (Sus scrofa) at national level in articulation to the hunters. Contact: gustavocastrorosa@gmail.com.
Martin Altuna is a veterinarian, in charge of the Zonal Artigas Livestock Services, Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Uruguay. Martin developed a program that has put agricultural producers who have problems with wild boar in contact with organized boar hunters in a group called Artigas Wild Boar Controllers. Contact: maltuna@mgap.gub.uy.

Do you want to join to the project?

Contact Dr. Juan Martin Dabezies, coordinator and project manager (jmdabezies@cure.edu.uy) or one of the team members. We are happy to welcome people who want to work with us. We offer a framework of teamwork and mentoring in different areas of knowledge. We only ask you three things: openness, respect and commitment.

Links of interest

– I Regional Days of the Jabalí (Artigas, 2016):
– II Day of the Artigas Wild Boar Controllers Association (2017):
– Proyecto ENetWild:
A consortium composed of leading Institutions on wildlife ecology and health will run a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) project whose main objective is to collect information on the geographical distribution, abundance and structure of selected wildlife species populations relevant for livestock and human health.
– Proyecto Bewildering Boar:
A project tracing how the Eurasian wild pig has featured in human lives, and vice versa, in dynamically changing socio-environmental contexts.