Moving Animals

Simone Schleper has an article, “Victims and diplomats: European white stork conservation efforts, animal representations, and images of expertise in postwar ornithology,” in the latest online issue of Science in Context.

This article discusses two approaches to save the European white stork populations from extinction that emerged after 1980. Despite the shared objective to devise transnational, science-based conservation measures, the two approaches’ geographical focus was radically different. Projects by the World Wildlife Fund and the International Council for Bird Preservation focused firmly on the stork’s wintering areas on the African continent. Interventions by a second group of ornithologists at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell concentrated on the Middle East as a migration bottleneck. Based on archival research, interviews and correspondence with involved ornithologists, the article examines stork representations as an important lens for investigating the professional politics of ecology and conservation. It shows that representations of white storks, the birds’ ecology, and derived conservation hotspots became part of the boundary work used by European ornithologists in the creation of changing scientific and institutional identities.

Image Caption: Front of the leaflet by the French section of the ICBP (Terrasse 1986). With kind permission of Michel Terrasse, Marc Thauront, and Landesanstalt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg.