Binturong : a history of gadget – part two

If defaunation is (Dirzo, Science 2014) “a compositional change in community” and “denotes the loss of both species and populations of wildlife as well as local decline in abundance”, it remains totally open the question about the ecological role of binturong in Asian tropical forests and therefore whether, when and at which extent is the species engaged in defaunation process. But the question is also: what idea of animals drives such a market? While, for instance, Freud referred to the relationship with domestic pets as “indisputable solidarity”, recently we observe a dramatic shift in this assumption. As forests and habitats disappear, we have been assisting to a rapid change in the way we were used to look at animals. And the most direct consequence is a change of status – and agency too – of animals. The destiny of binturong is a show case of three different ways to be an animal in Anthropocene: commodity (see Joshua Schuster on bison massacre in America and Nicole Shukin about animal rendering ), pet and event. These categories tend to overlap each other. For instance, there’s no relevant difference between the idea of using a wild binturong as tourist attraction in a Vietnamese restaurant and the image of African games (cute and human designed) provided by last Disney’s series (The Lion Guard) with a cheetah looking like a glamorous Main Coon. Among many other reasons defaunation is a dynamics because cultural use of faunas marks our “extinction footprint”. And this exactly what Foucault meant with biopolitics. 



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