A project led by University of Wollongong (UOW) researcher Professor Fiona Probyn-Rapsey to investigate the cultural impacts of introduced animals in Australia has won a $230,000 Australian Research Council Special Research Initiative for Australian Society, History and Culture grant.
The presence of pastoral and feral animal populations has brought into sharp relief the divergent views of settler and Indigenous Australians about the status of animals and their management.
In response to recent calls for greater recognition of Indigenous ecological knowledge, the project aims to generate new knowledge about the cultural impacts of conflict over introduced animals.
The project will focus on three case studies: the dispute over the presence of feral or wild horses in Kosciuszko National Park; plans to remove feral cats from Australia; and issues around pastoral grazing of cattle in Northern Australia.
The three case studies will investigate how Indigenous and settler Australian thinking about animals emerged in the colonial period and continues to shape modern Australia.
The researchers aim to work directly with Indigenous communities in the first two case studies, while analysing how Indigenous knowledges are framed is also a vital part of the method and approach of the project.