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From Victims to Companions

Crossroads of Rural Crime

ISBN: 978-1-80043-645-9, eISBN: 978-1-80043-644-2

Publication date: 19 May 2021


Managing the inevitable conflicts that occur as humans and wildlife increasingly cross paths is a pressing concern for conservation in the Anthropocene. The focus of this chapter is on a high-profile case of wildlife persecution in rural Australia, which saw a farmhand successfully prosecuted for deliberately poisoning 420 wedge-tailed eagles he believed to be a threat to the newborn lambs on the property where he worked. The chapter illustrates how this crime emerged at the intersection of three trajectories: the legacy of environmental change and colonial oppression in Australia; the sustained resistance to rural exclusion exhibited by some species of Australia native wildlife as they have adapted their livelihoods to the altered agricultural landscapes; and conservation doctrine that seeks to reverse the historical treatment of Australian wildlife by issuing it blanket protection from human interference. The complexities and interdependencies that have been created as wildlife have forged a future in rural space cannot be easily unravelled. The chapter argues that, alongside protection, more active forms of reconciliation between the trajectories of Australian agriculture and the trajectories of rural wildlife are required. It is only through experimenting with ways that pastoralists and wildlife might resolve disputes fairly and openly that more inclusive rural places become possible.



Paxton, G. (2021), "From Victims to Companions", Harkness, A. and White, R. (Ed.) Crossroads of Rural Crime, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 109-119.



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