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Cougar-human entanglements on Vancouver Island : relational agency and space Collard, Rosemary-Claire Magdeleine Solange 2009

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COUGAR-HUMAN ENTANGLEMENTS ON VANCOUVER ISLAND: RELATIONAL AGENCY AND SPACE  by  Rosemary-Claire Magdeleine Solange Collard  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS  in  The Faculty of Graduate Studies  (Geography)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  October 2009  © Rosemary-Claire Magdeleine Solange Collard, 2009  Abstract Vancouver Island is home to what is estimated to be the densest cougar population in North America. Over the last century and a half, cougar and human residents of the Island have not co-existed peacefully. From government-sponsored bounty hunts of cougars to cougar attacks on children, encounters between humans and cougars, although rare, have been violent and often lethal. In this thesis, work in Actor Network theory, feminist science studies, and posthuman geographies, specifically concerning themes of agency and space, is brought to bear on cougar-human relationships on Vancouver Island. The thesis focuses on two sites and processes within cougars and humans are drawn into obvious entanglements: cougar-human “conflict” in the southern Island town of Sooke in the mid-late twentieth century, and contemporary cougar science on the west coast of the Island in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The case studies examine what it means to be entangled with cougars, and what these entanglements reveal about the production and maintenance of species boundaries, nonhuman agency, and the generation of science and knowledge. In this project, I am interested in the sensual exchange between cougars and humans who are knotted in encounter and how networks of multiple species and technological mediators develop around these exchanges. Theorists in animal geographies, hybrid, posthuman, or “more-than-human” geographies, science and technology studies, and feminist science studies, have begun to bring attention to the multiple ways human and animal lives are intertwined. Too often, this research and writing retains a residual anthropocentric focus, and the animals of the story are backgrounded in troubling ways, reproducing the privileging of human subjects over that of animals. My research seeks to foreground cougars and how they matter to the production of knowledge and the constitution of natural-cultural space on Vancouver Island.  ii  Table of Contents Abstract ................................................................................................................................ ii Table of Contents.................................................................................................................iii List of Figures ..................................................................................................................... iv List of Graphs....................................................................................................................... v List of Acronyms................................................................................................................. vi Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................vii  Chapter 1. Introduction: Cougar Island .............................................................................. 1 Chapter 2. Classifying cougars........................................................................................... 5 What is (a) classification ........................................................................................................ 6 Puma concolor ....................................................................................................................... 8 Puma concolor vancouverensis............................................................................................ 12 Vermin ................................................................................................................................. 15 Game ................................................................................................................................... 19 Wildlife ................................................................................................................................. 23 Chapter 3. Agency and space in a more-than-human world........................................... 27 The “animal question” in (more-than-) human geography and beyond ................................. 28 Agency................................................................................................................................. 30 Space................................................................................................................................... 39 Chapter 4. Biosecuring Sooke!s backyards..................................................................... 48 A brief history of cougar-human entanglements in Sooke..................................................... 50 Boundary making, backyards and biosecurity ...................................................................... 61 Producing (un)safe backyards.............................................................................................. 69 Chapter 5. (En)count(er)ing cougars in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.................. 81 Parks, predators and politics of ex-/in-clusions..................................................................... 82 “Finding a needle in a haystack”: WildCoast!s “detective work” ............................................ 88 Re-tracing WildCoast ........................................................................................................... 93 Relational agency and the production of knowledge in WildCoast ...................................... 101 Chapter 6. Conclusions: accounting for the uncountable ............................................ 107 Bibliography ..................................................................................................................... 118  iii  List of Figures Figure 2.1 Contemporary Linnaean taxonomy for Puma concolor ........................................ 10 Figure 2.2 Cougar killed by Frank Hobbs in Victoria, BC, 1908 ............................................ 16 Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure Figure  4.1 “Prime male cougar” on display at the Sooke Museum........................................ 49 4.2 17 year old Mazie Tuttle of Sooke, holding a cougar she shot, 1930 ................... 52 4.3 Aerial photograph of Sooke, 1958 ....................................................................... 53 4.4 Sooke!s new northern fringe spreading into the Sooke Hills ................................ 54 4.5 Cougar treed and subsequently shot by COs in Sooke, 2008.............................. 73 4.6 Young male cougar “destroyed” by Conservation Officer in Sooke, 2005 ............ 77  Figure 5.1 View from the Port Renfrew Warden Station towards the WCT ........................... 87 Figure 5.2 Park wardens! tracking system for cougar-human encounters............................. 87  iv  List of Graphs Graph 2.1 Graph 2.2 Graph 2.3 Graph 2.4 Graph 2.5  Annual BC timber harvest, 1912-2006 ................................................................. 14 Amount of provincial cougar bounty, 1871-1957 .................................................. 16 Cougar bounties issued on Vancouver Island and mainland BC, 1889-1957 ....... 17 Provincial cougar harvest by resident and non-resident kills 1970 – 2003 ........... 21 Provincial cougar hunting licenses by resident and non-resident, 1977-2004 ...... 22  Graph 4.1 Graph 4.2 Graph 4.3 Graph 4.4  Non-fatal cougar attacks in North America, 1900-2008........................................ 57 Fatal cougar attacks in North America, 1900-2008 .............................................. 58 Fatal and non-fatal cougar attacks on Vancouver Island, 1900-2008................... 59 Calls to COS in Sooke about cougars, 2002-2008 ............................................... 75  Graph 5.1 Number of notable cougar-human encounters in PRNPR, 1983-2005 ................. 86  v  List of Acronyms ANT BC BGIU CBT CMGWG CO COS IUCN LBU MYA PC PRNPR SRM STS UNESCO US WC WCEL WCSC WCT WCTU  Actor Network Theory British Columbia Broken Group Islands Unit Clayoquot Biosphere Trust Cougar Management Guidelines Working Group Conservation Officer Conservation Officer Service World Conservation Union Long Beach Unit Million Years Ago Parks Canada Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Sooke Region Museum Science and technology studies United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization United States WildCoast West Coast Environmental Law WildCoast Scientific Collective West Coast Trail West Coast Trail Unit  vi  Acknowledgements I am fortunate to have become entangled with innumerable big-hearted humans and nonhumans over the course of this thesis and life in general. Thanks in particular to the following for helpful advice and conversations: Joanna Reid, Matt Dyce, Laurie Dickmeyer, Sarah Brown, Matthew Evenden and Jessica Dempsey at the Department of Geography at UBC, Juliane Collard, Francine Dagenais and Andrew Collard from Firwood Place, Allison Watson of Kemp Lake (nee Jordan River), Peaches, a feline without peer, Elida Pierce at the Sooke Museum, all the residents cats at the Victoria Branch SPCA, Richard Mackie of Cowichan Bay, and Bill Lynn, Corinna Wainwright and Nathan Nankivell, from all over but united in their generous provision of advice and data. Thank you to all who shared their cougar stories and experiences. Thank you to the following institutions for financial support: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Department of Geography at UBC, the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC, the UBC University Graduate Fellowship (UGF) program, and the Government of BC Ministry of Advanced Education. Warm thanks to my committee member, Juanita Sundberg, for her thoughtful and enthusiastic feedback. Finally, a mega thank you to Trevor Barnes, my supervisor, for his infallible intellect, dependability, generosity, and calm.  vii  Chapter 1. Introduction: Cougar Island The environment comprises not the surroundings of an organism but a zone of entanglement. Life in the open, far from being contained in bounded spaces, threads its way along paths through the weather world. Despite human attempts to hard surface this world, and to block the intermingling of substance and medium that is essential to growth and habitation, the creeping entanglements of life will always and eventually gain the upper hand. (Ingold 2008, 1796) When a cougar is close, many people feel the fine hairs on their necks raise and their skins tingle and prickle. It is the unmistakable sense, they say, of being stalked. In these moments, the landscape becomes too quiet. These are not myths. At least, this is what I am told. I cannot say myself because I have never seen a live, wild cougar. When a cougar cub with oversized paws and spotted fur was treed by neighbourhood dogs in a Douglas fir yards from my childhood home and then tranquilised and relocated by a Conservation Officer, I was out of town. A few years later, when a Conservation Officer shot an injured cougar that had been killing neighbourhood cats, I was not around to crowd with my neighbours around the cougar!s limp body, splayed in the back of a pick-up truck. After more than two decades of hiking, camping and wandering around Vancouver Island, home to North America!s most densely populated cougar population, the only two cougars I have ever seen have been stuffed: one with chemicals before being cast, teeth bared, onto a taxidermy mount; and the other into a cramped cage in a drab, dingy zoo, World of Wonders, in the middle of nowhere off Highway one, the north-south traffic artery running along Vancouver Island!s knobby spine. According to the anecdotal and empirical evidence about cougar-human encounters, my failure to come across a cougar on the Island would have been more commonplace one hundred years ago than today. Despite almost two centuries! efforts to extirpate cougars from Vancouver Island – or Cougar Island, as National Geographic has called it (Luck 2006) and 150 years of urban, suburban and rural development – cougar-human interaction is on the rise. Since the mid-twentieth century, support for cougar extirpation has waned. This is not because cougars and humans suddenly learned to co-exist in harmony. On the contrary, cougar-human co-existence since that time has been far from peaceful. Although cougar population estimates for Vancouver Island vary widely, from 300-800 (Brunt 2008; Pauwels 2009), biologists and government officials suggest that cougars are more densely populated on Vancouver Island than anywhere else in North America. Throw into the mix an expanding suburban fringe on southern, eastern, and western Vancouver Island, burgeoning deer 1  populations (one of cougars! favourite prey) in these areas, rapidly changing ecosystem dynamics due to centuries of logging, and dozens of rural settlements strung along the Island, brimming with sheep and goats, and you have the perfect recipe for cougar-human encounters. It is a complicated situation, and one that equally fascinates, terrifies, saddens, and angers Island residents. As an Islander wrote to me in an email just days ago while we were drafting an article on cougars for the Rural Observer, a community newsletter: “two cougar encounters in the Kemp Lake area inside of six months ended with the death of five cougars. People have a lot of questions. How many cougars are there? Why do encounters with humans usually end in dead cougars? Are there alternatives?” (Heather 2009). Cougars are, in Donna Haraway!s (2008, 19) term, “queer messmates”. Their bodies, biologies, and behaviours are slippery. They do not often conform to the behaviours we might like them to exhibit. They are mobile, elusive, big, strong, generally solitary and widely known as “the perfect predator”. What does it mean to share space with such creatures? How do cougars figure in the fabric of social life? Having grown up on Vancouver Island, and as one of the residents equally saddened and fascinated by cougars, I decided an MA thesis was a good opportunity to explore what it means to share space with cougars. This thesis is an effort to understand cougar-human entanglements on Vancouver Island. I choose the word entanglements carefully, for four main reasons, loosely following Joann Sharp et al. (2000). First, “entanglements” does a good job of capturing the messiness of cougar-human co-existence. Sharing space is never simple, but cougars! predatory prowess complicates things further, posing a real threat to human safety. Cougars and humans knot together in particularly fraught ways. Second, when we think of entanglements we often think of criss-crossing heaps of threads, or piles of knotted kelp. We think of things conjoined together in space. These entanglements have implicit spatial dimensions. They push outward, stretch into space, and snag on other entangled entities. The term entanglements is intended to highlight the inescapable spatiality of cougar-human coexistence. The conflict between these two species is fundamentally spatial not only because it unfolds over space but also because it produces space, as I will discuss in Chapter 4. Third, and relatedly, my use of entanglements, with its implied images of tangled objects, is meant to invoke the materiality of these spaces of co-existence and of the myriad entities that constitute them – from cougars and humans to deer and dogs, roses and house cats, aluminium pie plates and raccoons. Finally, entanglements is used because I wish to emphasise the multiple entanglements integral to the workings of power. Wound up in these entanglements are “countless processes of domination and resistance which are always implicated in, and mutually 2  constitutive of, one another”. (Sharp et al. 2000, 1). Cougars and humans are perpetually knotted in both resistance and domination, and these “domination/resistance couplets” (Sharp et al. 200, 1) enfold over one another, producing complex spaces and knowledges. On Vancouver Island, cougars and humans entangle in messy, spatial, material forms, reflecting and producing power imbalances that continually shift from one species to the other. The two primary questions that occupy this thesis are: within what networks are space and knowledge produced on Vancouver Island; and how do cougars matter within these assemblages? The framing and answering of these questions are informed in large part by work in Actor Network Theory (for example Callon 1986; Latour 1993; Law 1994), feminist science studies (Haraway 1991; 1997; 2008; Barad 2007), and work in human geography that has variously been called “more-than-human”, “posthuman” and “relational” (Whatmore 2002; Castree 2003a; Murdoch 2006; Braun 2008). From these bodies of work I draw the idea that things like agency, space and knowledge are not pre-existing, static attributes that one entity possesses or moves through or not. Rather, agency, science, and space are achievements produced within dynamic, heterogeneous, and often precarious assemblages of entities that are not all human. Cougars, this thesis argues, are significant entities within the assemblages that produce space, agency and knowledge on Vancouver Island. Ultimately, my analysis broadens what counts as 1) having agency, 2) generating knowledge, and 3) engaging in spatial practices. I work through two practices in which cougars and humans entangle: the production of backyard space in the residentially expanding community of Sooke, BC; and the production of wildlife science in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. In both case studies, I examine the multiple ways that cougars matter to the forms and implications of cougar-human entanglements, emphasising material bodies! roles in the performance and production of these entanglements. The thesis opens with two contextual chapters. The first is concerned with cougars, specifically cougars on Vancouver Island. In it, I review various ways that cougars have been classified on the Island – namely by scientists and government officials – over time. I also summarise the existing body of knowledge about cougars and their ethology and bio-physiology. In the next chapter, I conduct a literature review of the two main themes carried through the thesis: agency and space. I am predominantly concerned with how geographers and other social theorists have been developing ways of thinking and writing about these themes in ways that attend to their relationality, specifically as this thinking relates or could relate to animals. My thesis is that agency and space are not performed, produced, and practiced by discreet 3  individuals but rather are constructed within complex networks of diverse entities, including animals. The fourth and fifth chapters of the thesis present respectively the two case studies. Chapter 4 explores how cougars are enrolled in the production of backyard space in Sooke, BC, one of the fastest growing regions in BC. Chapter 5 examines how cougars enable, inflect and disrupt the production of wildlife science in PRNPR, a park along the west coast of Vancouver Island. The concluding chapter provides some thoughts about possible implications of and future directions for my research findings. Growing up in Sooke, cougars were a formative part of my childhood. At a young age I was curious about the lives of these secretive animals, and how our (human) lives paralled such magnificent and mysterious creatures. During my MA coursework, readings that argued for relational understandings of the world made me wonder how humans and cougars were related on Vancouver Island and why this mattered. I wondered what recent relational social theory might offer in terms of better understanding cougar-human entanglements. Because Vancouver Island has the highest density of cougars anywhere in North America, and the highest number of violent encounters between cougars and humans, it was the perfect place to carry out research about cougar-human entanglements. It is true that there are more pressing wildlife topics to examine, for example, species that are critically endangered. While cougars on Vancouver Island are not currently in danger of extinction, they are discriminated against, killed, and encroached upon. Moreover, the changing economic and material landscapes of Vancouver Island mean that cougars may be more and more entering “our” spaces, as we enter theirs. We need new and better registers for accounting for cougars ethically and politically, ends toward which I want to work in this thesis.  4  Chapter 2. Classifying cougars All classifications are oppressive (Barthes 1977 [1996], 365)  The relationship between cougars and humans on Vancouver Island has been and remains marked by violence, fear and curiosity. Given the impossibility of determining how cougars perceive humans, this chapter asks how humans have perceived cougars over time on Vancouver Island. The discussion is intended to provide a basic context for the research and discussion in succeeding chapters. I begin at a particular, and not unproblematic, temporal and cultural point: when Europeans first interacted with the human and nonhuman residents of Vancouver Island. I do not discuss First Nations! relations with cougars. Although wary of reproducing a terra nullius, or the intellectual and material erasures of First Nations peoples from the places of Vancouver Island, 1 I choose this starting point because cougars are for the most part absent from the known, recorded myths and legends of Vancouver Island First Nations groups (Mackie 1999). For the purposes of this chapter, I distil humans! relationships to cougars into a series of classifications in which humans placed cougars. Each following section identifies a means by which humans have sought to order cougars. The first two classifications are taxonomic: Puma concolor and Puma concolor  vancouverensis. In Puma concolor, I examine cougars! naming and classification as a species within biological taxonomy. I emphasise the partiality of what is known about cougars while also imparting cougars! basic bio-physiological qualities. The following section focuses on the population of cougars on Vancouver Island, sometimes described as a unique sub-species known as Puma concolor vancouverensis. How many are there? How are they affected by the changing socio-economic contexts of the Island? The remaining three sections are about cougars as vermin, game and wildlife, respectively. They trace what has been a widespread, but by no means unanimous, perception of cougars from a vilified species to one that is celebrated as essential to ecological health and emblematic of wilderness. Classification is more than just an organising device for this chapter. I have selected these five cougar classifications because they are the primary means by which humans perceive cougars and construct an understanding of what they are. The classifications also have material consequences. Taken as a whole, the 1  Regarding the notion of terra nullius in colonisation, see Chapter 4 of Whatmore (2002). In a BC context, see Brealey (1995; 1998), Braun (2002) and Harris (2002) for discussions of how Canadian lands were – and are still – imagined as terra nullius, or “empty lands” prior to colonisation.  5  chapter asks: how have practices of classification worked to create Puma concolor  vancouverensis and how have these classificatory efforts reified and reiterated divisions between nature and culture, the civilised and the wild? I begin, however, by briefly reviewing what it means to classify and order organisms.  What is (a) classification? A substantial body of literature now exists on practices of classification and ordering. Much of the recent work draws on Michel Foucault!s (1970) The order of things, the central argument of which is that humans construct specific underlying conditions of truth that constitute what is rational and knowable. These conditions shift over time but at any given moment they comprise a system of scientific truths. Foucault traces how these organising frameworks of human perception and knowledge – he focuses on biology, linguistics and economics – have changed from the Renaissance to the end of the 19th century. One chapter of the book examines in particular biological practices of naming and classification, associated with what Foucault calls “natural history”, which emerged out of the Enlightenment period in Europe. These new practices, grounded in empirics and representation, competed with and eventually unseated pre-existing divine and mystical interpretations. Chief among these new practices was a taxonomical framework that humans developed to sort and classify organisms with the intent of expanding, chronicling and communicating knowledge about the world. The consequence was a “new field of visibility” (Foucault 1970, 132). The information brought into focus a specific visible area and particular observable qualities of a phenomenon (Foucault 1970). This is not to suggest that before natural history or early scientific modes of classification, no classificatory measures existed. On the contrary, “to classify is human” (Bowker and Star 1999, 1). Classification has always been central to social life, although classifications are ordinarily invisible (Bowker and Star 1999). Of course, not all classifications are strictly scientific, either. Think of the multiple classifications that make up the act of buying a coffee. The drink purchased is classified by roast. The money with which the coffee is bought is classified into cents and dollars. The size of cup might be classified as tall, grande and venti. Classifications abound. In general, a classification can be thought of as “a spatial, temporal, or spatio-temporal segmentation of the world. A "classification system! is a set of boxes (metaphorical or literal) into which things can be put to then do some kind of work – bureaucratic or knowledge production” (Bowker and Star (1999, 10). A classification system should exhibit the following properties: consistency and 6  uniqueness of classificatory principles; mutually exclusive categories; and a completeness (Bowker and Star 1999). I write that a classification system “seeks to exhibit” these categories because “no real-world working classification system… meets these "simple! requirements and [it is doubtful] that any ever could” (Bowker and Star 1999, 11). Every classification system is imperfect. The impossibility of constructing a “perfect” classification system is a topic of interest to contemporary scholars in science studies, discussed below. Recent work on classification focuses in large part on the consequences of classification. Bowker and Star!s (1999) book admits as much in its title, Sorting things out: classification and  its consequences. In the book, the authors ask how classifications are constructed, made and kept invisible, and then how they might be made visible. They draw attention to the unseen forces of classifications and their moral and social implications, suggesting ways we might become more attentive to the exclusions that classifications necessarily engender. Several other recent works in the field of science studies pursue further thinking in this vein, examining the interplay between human attempts at classification and the material world that is classified. Argued most famously by Bruno Latour (1993), scholars propose that the material world is an active agent in the production of classifications, and that classifications in turn have consequences for the material world. For instance, as Jamie Lorimer (2006) demonstrates, the detectability of an organism plays a significant role in how the organism becomes incorporated – or not – into biological and political classifications. Concurrently, classifications can have “real material consequences – both social and ecological – as they increasingly come to figure in the politics and practices of environmental governance” (Lorimer 2006, 541). The practice of classification is thus shaped by material beings and spaces and also it profoundly shapes humans relationships with the natural world (Oerlemans 2002). Classifications are performative (Bowker 2000; Lorimer 2006), that is, they bring forth and shape the world (Barnes 2008). The performances of classifications have significant, geographical consequences for animals. Imposing classifications onto complex and dynamic animal entities has the effect of fixing the classified animals into a series of abstract spaces. These abstract spaces might be thought of as “animal spaces”, which are “cleaved apart from the messy time-space contexts… in which these animals actually live out their lives” (Philo and Wilbert 2000, 7). Classifying animals can be thought of as “placing” animals, after which point animals can be “neatly identified, delimited and positioned in the relevant conceptual space so as to be separate from and not overlapping with other things there identified, delimited and positioned” (Philo and Wilbert 2000, 6). But this is not the tidy way the world works. As a result, classifications operate 7  by multiple inclusions and exclusions, and each classification frames the world in a different way, bringing some things into focus and consciously or unconsciously disregarding others, valorising some points of view and silencing others (Bowker and Star 1999). We can begin to see how, as Roland Barthes states in the quotation that opens this chapter, “all classifications are oppressive”. In placing animals into boxes, into “animal spaces”, there is inevitably some squeezing to achieve a fit. Some animals are left out. Some that may have fit at one time outgrow their box, or their box outgrows them. Attempts at classifications are thus always and everywhere subverted by underlying relations and entities that do not quite fit. Donna Haraway (1992) has proposed that the entities that persistently resist classification or bring about classification breakdown are called monsters. It may well be that a proliferation of monsters parallels increases in classification schemes (Ritvo 1997). John Law (1994) suggests that given the inevitable breakdown of classifications, their fundamental partiality, perhaps it is better only to speak of “ordering” as a verb, a process, because there is no “order” per se. Certainly ordering efforts have been directed at cougars with no order achieved, as is demonstrated by cougars! frequent re-classification by taxonomists, biologists and government officials. Cougars are monstrous. They are materially and semiotically on the move.  Puma concolor In 1771, the Swede “father of modern taxonomy”, Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), assigned his now canonical Latinate binomial nomenclature to a large wild cat that had been “discovered” in the New World. The cat was Felis concolor, or cat of one colour. It was a French naturalist, Comte George Louis Leclerc de Buffon, who named the same animal “cougar” in 1774, adapting a Native Brazilian word – cucuarana – to arrive at cuguar, and subsequently misspelling it “cougar”. 2 In the present day, a cougar has over 40 different names in English. No other animal has more (Guinness Book of World Records 2003, 49). Linnaeus!s provision of one of these names – Felis concolor – simultaneously placed the species into an elaborate and protean classificatory system. Taxonomical classification was considered at its core a project of assigning order to the chaos of the nonhuman world. Today, taxonomy is better thought of as a “political order that works by the negotiation of boundaries achieved through ordering differences” (Haraway 1989, 10). That is, taxonomy is not an objective, pre-given framework that observes and catalogues natural “facts” and difference, but is rather a system with a distinct  2  Cucuarana, derived from a Tupi word, susuarana, translates to “false deer”.  8  political and social history that operates by making difference, or at least marking some differences more meaningful than others. One of the main differences made meaningful by taxonomical classification is that between humans and animals. Taxonomy established what had the appearances of a natural order and confirmed the human position at its head (Ritvo 1997). Gendered and racialised assumptions about what knowledge was, and who could hold or generate it, were incorporated into taxonomy, legitimated by illusions to factual objectivity (Haraway 1989; Schiebinger 1993). Furthermore, animals! dynamic bodies and contexts were also objectified, assigned fixed identities in order to become “standardised, portable facts” (Whatmore 2002, 21; Ritvo 1997). The basic unit of taxonomy, the species, remains an uncertain category. 3 The conviction that species are real, that by labelling a group of organisms with a Latinate binomial, taxonomists are identifying a natural group of entities that exists independently of that naming process, has “flourished in spite of a striking absence of consensus about the nature of the entity in question” (Ritvo 1997, 86). Felis concolor demonstrates the fluidity of these groupings. Linnaeus!s original classification located Felis concolor within the kingdom he called Animalia and the genus he called Felis, both of which survive as categories to this day. Cougars have left  Felis, however, re-ordered into the genus Puma, where they share classified space with the jaguarundi, Puma yagouaroundi, cats just a little more than a tenth the cougar!s weight. The diminutive jaguarundi belies the meaning of Puma, derived from a Peruvian Quechua Indian word meaning “powerful animal” (Busch 2004). The species Puma concolor is slotted into the contemporary Linnaean taxonomy as shown in Figure 2.1.  Figure 2.1  Contemporary Linnaean taxonomy for Puma concolor Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata (Subphylum: Vertebrata) Class: Mammalia (Subclass: Theria) (Infraclass: Eutheria) Order: Carnivora (Suborder: Feliformia) Family: Felidae (Subfamily: Felinae) Genus: Puma Species: P. concolor  3  For a genealogy of the taxonomic category “species”, see Ritvo (1997, Chapters 2 and 3).  9  Until the late 1990s, as many as 32 subspecies of cougars – including the Vancouver Island subspecies, Puma concolor vancouverensis – were recognised. However, a recent genetic study of mitochondrial DNA found that many of these are too similar to be recognized as distinct at a molecular level (Culver et al. 2000), and only six subspecies are now accepted.  Vancouverensis is now no longer among them (Wozencraft 2005). The phylogeny, or evolutionary development, of cougars is also partial and uncertain. Drawing on mitochondrial DNA analysis (cats are poorly represented in the fossil record [Johnson et al. 2006]), theorists speculate that the family Felidae originated in Asia approximately 11 million years ago (MYA) (Nicholas 2006). The latest genomic study of Felidae (Johnson et al. 2006) suggests that the common ancestor of what are today considered Felidae lineages – Leopardus, Lynx, Puma, Prionailurus, and Felis – migrated, between 8 and 8.5 MYA, across the Bering land bridge connecting present-day Siberia and Alaska. The carnivores ostensibly followed herbivorous creatures that were attracted by the long, coarse grass thought to have covered the bridge at this time. Genetic evidence suggests that cougars evolved as a distinct species about 400,000 years ago (Culver et al. 2000). Measuring between 60 and 80 centimetres tall, 1.5 and 3 meters long, and weighing between 40 and 120 kilograms, today!s cougars are slender but large animals, the largest wild cats in Canada. They have slightly longer back legs than front, enabling them to reach speeds of 55 kilometres per hour and, astoundingly, to leap over five metres vertically and up to fourteen metres horizontally (Alison 2007). Cougars! coats are generally a tawny brown, but range to silvery-grey or reddish, with lighter patches on the underbelly, jaw, chin, and throat. They have large eyes – described by Robert Busch (2004, 12) as “great amber orbs set like gems”, and their heads are small and topped with rounded, erect, triangular ears. Like domesticated small cats, cougars cannot roar because they lack the flexible cartilage hyoid and specialised larynx of other large felines. Cougars can, however, hiss, growl, purr, chirp and whistle, and occasionally issue their famous, frequently described “bone-chilling”, shrill scream. Depicted ubiquitously as “mysterious”, “ghostly”, and “elusive”, the cougar “personifies grace in its movements, and is exceedingly clean” (Young 1946, 51). Obligate carnivores and successful generalist predators, cougars avoid scavenging but will eat any animal they can catch, from insects to porcupines to 600-pound moose or elk (Spalding 1994). Various deer species are cougars! primary prey, with most cougars consuming one large ungulate every two weeks. Crepuscular predators, cougars are most active at dawn and dusk, typically stalking 10  from behind before leaping onto the back of their prey and, enabled by their flexible spines, delivering a suffocating neck bite, usually breaking the neck of their smaller prey (Wright and Amirault-Langlais 2007). “Of all the beasts that roam America!s woods,” admires Ernest Thompson Seton in 1909 ([1953], 95), “the Cougar is big-game hunter without peer. Built with the maximum power, speed, and endurance that can be jammed into his 150 pounds of lithe and splendid beasthood, his daily routine is a march of stirring athletic events that not another creature – in America, at least – can hope to equal.” Cougars are also adept climbers and swimmers and, as will be considered more fully in Chapter 5, are not easily tracked by other species. Across the Americas, humans are mature cougars! only predators. At one time, cougars rivalled humans in the extent to which they ranged over the Americas, and were found in nearly every corner of the two continents, from the southern tip of Chile to the Yukon Territory, and from east to west straight across both North and South America. Centuries of persecution by humans have reduced cougars! historical range by two thirds, however. Cougars now have been extirpated from much of eastern North America (Gross 2008). 4 In spite of this persecution, cougars maintain the greatest range of any wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere, extending from the Yukon Territory to the southern Andes (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). For the most part solitary creatures, cougars prefer to exist at low population densities and require vast areas of land to survive. Studies have estimated cougars! territorial area to be anywhere between 200 (Grzimek et al. 2004) and 1300 square kilometres (UDWR 1999). The total breeding population of Puma concolor is loosely estimated to be around 50,000, with 3500-5000 in Canada and the majority of cougars found in South America (IUCN 2008). 5 Although all cougar populations are thought to be steadily declining, the World Conservation Union (IUCN 2008) lists the cougar as a species of “least concern”, citing its widespread distribution as a reason for this categorisation. Many western states in the US have, nevertheless, recently vowed to reverse the trend of declining cougar numbers, enshrining a commitment to protect existing – and generally small – cougar populations in anti-hunting legislation and habitat protection measures. On the west coast of Canada, on the other hand, what are thought to be large populations of cougars persist despite hunting continuing apace 4  Numerous sightings of cougars in parts of eastern and central Canada and the US have, however, called into question the classification of cougars as “extirpated” from these regions. Determining whether or not cougars exist in these areas is precluded by cougars! mobility, solitary nature, and preference to avoid human contact. This indeterminacy points to the ephemeral nature of classifications, and to their arbitrary and simplistic assignment to a complex and dynamic creature. 5 Uncertainty plagues these cougar counts: the BC government estimates that there are 4000-6000 cougars in BC alone, but admits that “confidence in the population estimate is low” (Austin 2005).  11  against the last century of slaughter. These relatively high cougar populations combine with human population booms and landscape change to generate “hot spots” of cougar-human conflict. The next section introduces the cougar and human residents of an island that is one of the hottest spots of all.  Puma concolor vancouverensis As discussed earlier, the number of subspecies of Puma concolor is contentious. According to contemporary taxonomies that are buttressed by mitochondrial DNA testing, Puma concolor  vancouverensis, a subspecies of cougar that was thought to exist on Vancouver Island, no longer technically exist. There are, however, cougars on Vancouver Island, and they do differ from their mainland counterparts, from whom they have been isolated since the last ice age: they are slightly larger and distinguishable by a darker, chestnut brown colouring.6 And there are lots of them – so many, in fact, that scientists estimate cougar population densities are higher on the Island than anywhere else in North America (Beier 1991; Danz 1999). 7 Estimates of the total population of Puma concolor vancouverensis – a name I continue to use throughout this thesis in order to attend to the peculiarities of being and encountering cougars on Vancouver Island – vary widely, from 300-400 (Genovali 2002; Brunt 2008) to 600-800 (Etling 2004; Pauwels 2009), to 1000-1200 (Brunham 2001). 8 Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding their population size, cougars are not, and never have been, classified as a species at risk by the BC government. They are currently a yellow listed species, a classification for “species that are apparently secure and not at risk of extinction” (BCCDC 2008). Cougars! classification as a yellow-listed species allows the provincial government to continue operating and sanctioning annual hunts for cougars, a topic explored later in this chapter. The classification is informed by the perception – based on the anecdotally derived “best guesses” of governmental biologists (Austin 2005) – that Vancouver Island cougars! population densities are high. This density estimation is supported by another distinction held by Puma concolor vancouverensis: there are  6  There is also a perception among a limited number of conservation officers and biologists that Vancouver Island cougars are of the most “vicious” and “aggressive” disposition of all cougars in North America (Lay in Etling 2004, 69; Heusen in Nelson 2007; Brunham in Deurbrouck 2007). This belief will be discussed critically in Chapter 4. 7 This statistic belies the uncertainty that predominates in the study of cougars, a topic that is examined in detail in Chapter 5. 8 The challenges presented by counting cougars on Vancouver Island are explored in Chapter 5.  12  more recorded cougar attacks on Vancouver Island than anywhere else in North America (Etling 2004; Lewis 2008). 9 Vancouver Island traces the coast of British Columbia, Canada!s westernmost province. It is the largest island on the western side of the Americas at 32,134 square kilometres and 460 kilometres long. Coastal plains lie to the east, long fjords comprise the west coast, and a chain of glaciated mountains form a north-south spine up the middle of the Island. A maritime climate brings warm, dry summers and wet, mild winters, and forests cover approximately 91 percent of the Island. Less than half are old growth forests. The rest are managed second growth, concentrated in the more accessible southeastern areas (BCILMB 2000). Vancouver Island is now home to about 800,000 people, most of whom have arrived in the last century and are concentrated along the southeast coast in the Island!s two largest cities: Nanaimo, and BC!s capital, Victoria. Although resource extraction industries, primarily forestry but also fishing and mining, have dominated the Island economy for most of the last century, tourism, real estate, service and high tech jobs are growing in number, particularly in urban areas (BCILMB 2000). The island was named after George Vancouver, a British Royal Navy officer who “explored” the island and the west coast of North America between 1791 and 1794. In fact, humans had populated the Island that Vancouver surveyed for at least eight thousand years.10 George Vancouver!s reports on the region worked, with numerous other surveys, sketches and communications, to reduce “topographically and culturally distinct cultural spaces to a homogenizing, classificatory, measurable and endlessly flexible Cartesian grid” (Brealey 1998, 201), laying the foundation for the Indian reserve system that was overlaid on this abstracted  terra nullius. This was the ground upon which British Columbia subsequently unfolded (Brealey 1995, 1998; Harris 2002). Although First Nations are now recognised as having been active in shaping the ecologies of Vancouver Island, 11 it was only once the Island was colonised by Europeans that the landscape underwent a series of dramatic alterations. Logging to clear forests for agricultural land eventually led to an industry that dominated the Island economy for roughly a century: the forest industry. Timber production began in earnest at the turn of the nineteenth century, fueled by technological innovations, 12 the First World War, the construction of both the 9  Violent meetings between Puma concolor vancouverensis and humans are explored in Chapter 4. As evident by totem poles and other artifacts located on the northern portion of the island. 11 First Nations people did and continue to engage in controlled burns, crop cultivation and other activities that shaped Vancouver Island landscapes. See Duer and Turner (2005). 12 The primary technological innovations were the crosscut saw and the steam donkey. 10  13  Canadian Pacific Railroad and the Panama Canal. Economic boom in the 1950s led to increased harvest in the recently opened interior of BC. Timber harvest more than doubled in the two subsequent decades (Graph 2.1), although during this time coastal harvest levelled off and then fell, owing to the increase in logs from the interior (Hayter 2000).  Graph 2.1  Annual BC timber harvest, 1912-2006  Data source: BC Ministry of Forests. 2007. The state of British Columbia!s forests, 2006. Victoria: BC Ministry of Forests. Available at: www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/sof/2006/. Last accessed: 22 November 2008.  The degree to which Vancouver Island!s forests are converted from mature stands to clearcuts is of particular relevance to Puma concolor vancouverensis because of the (still only rudimentarily understood) relationships between clearcuts, deer, and cougars. Deer are attracted to the preponderance of low shrub plant species in recently clearcut landscapes. (A demonstrable correlation exists between an increase in clearcut areas and an increase in deer populations.) During the mid-late twentieth century, when forest harvest rates peaked, so did deer populations (McNay and Davies 1985). Cougar population numbers are affected by multiple factors, but one of the clearest is the availability of prey species, in this case, deer (Sadoway 1986). Biologists have thus concluded that Vancouver Island cougar populations were likely far higher in the mid-twentieth century than during the beginning of colonisation (BC Fish and Wildlife Branch 1980). As Vancouver Island has transitioned into “post-industrial” economies (Reed 2003), many of these clearcut areas have been reforested or developed into real estate. Deer have moved out of the reforested areas and into the Island!s burgeoning 14  residential landscapes, typically brimming with lawns, flowers, and other foods appetizing to deer. The cougars, unsurprisingly, have followed (Dan 2008). The dynamic predator-prey relationship between Puma concolor vancouverensis and deer was and still is complicated by the added presence of human hunters. The following section explores cougar hunting under a specific governmental classification of Puma concolor vancouverensis: vermin.  Vermin On procuring an Animal with which we are unacquainted, the first point… is to ascertain whether it is… applicable to the uses of Man…, or should its habits be detrimental or obnoxious, what measures are pursued to destroy the species (Graves 1824, 44) First Nations people were not the only beings who were literally, conceptually and cartographically evacuated from Vancouver Island to make way for “civilisation”. Nonhuman residents of Vancouver Island – plants and animals – were as well. European colonisers brought with them to the West an instrumental view and hierarchical classification of animals, regarding their domesticated animal imports as more evolved and civilised than native flora and fauna (White 1994). In the nineteenth century it was a commonly held assumption in North America that “Indians, forests, and wildlife would pass away before the triumphant progress of European civilization" (Dunlap 1997, 319; Colpitts 2002). From the very beginning of “settlement”, cougars and colonists came into violent contact, the provincial government deciding early on that a “special effort should be made to exterminate [cougars]” (Williams 1912). Eliminating cougars to create hospitable environments for European domestic animal imports was a form of what Alfred Crosby (1986) calls “ecological imperialism”, the biological colonisation of new territories. It was underpinned by a Judeo-Christian doctrine: wild animals and their habitat were symbolic of our “fallen” condition, of an abstract and degenerated nature, and were to be regarded with disapproval if not loathing (Cartmill 1995). At the same time as colonists embarked on aggressive hunting campaigns to tame the unruly land and spread civilisation, cougars thrived as their prey base was augmented by two primary colonial activities that were ironically the impetus for cougar-slaughter missions: colonists! cleared land encouraged growth in deer populations; and imported domestic animals were a new source of prey for cougars. Until the mid-twentieth century, provincial law classified animals into two groups: game and vermin. Game was a shifting, diverse assortment of creatures, many exotic imports, 15  managed under game laws. Vermin was a smaller and relatively stable group of predators that frequently entered into “settled” spaces to kill livestock. Cougars were classified as vermin in BC from 1849-1966, the most “noxious pests” of that category (Ministry of Agriculture quoted in Mackie 1999, 140) (Figure 2.2).  Figure 2.2  Cougar killed by Frank Hobbs in Victoria, BC, 1908  Source: BC Archives G-03184 The main conservation strategy employed by the provincial government during this time was predator-control, and bounty laws – a government payment per “varmint” killed – were often the first pieces of legislation to be passed in new colonies (Loo 2006). On Vancouver Island, a cougar bounty existed for most of the period between 1864-1957, the bounty paying as high as 40 dollars per cougar in the 1920s (Graph 2.2).  16  Graph 2.2  Amount of provincial cougar bounty, 1871-1957  Data source: Hall, D. 1990. Island gold: a history of cougar hunting on Vancouver Island. Victoria: Cougar Press Limited, 8.  In order to claim the bounty, hunters were required to exhibit the dead cougar, in its entirety or its hide, to a government official, who would punch the left ear of the cougar and issue a cheque. The amount of money granted by the government for cougar bounties corresponds, unsurprisingly, to the number of cougars killed for bounty in the province, which hit a provincial high of over 700 in 1931 and 1948 (Graph 2.3).  17  Graph 2.3  Cougar bounties issued on Vancouver Island and mainland BC, 1889-1957  Data source: Hall, D. 1990. Island gold: a history of cougar hunting on Vancouver Island. Victoria: Cougar Press Limited, 11-12.  On Vancouver Island, an average of 135 cougars per year were killed under the bounty system, a total of over 9,300 Island cougars during the bounty era. In 1932, the Provincial Game Warden stated that cougars were not enough of a threat to humans and livestock to justify the bounty, and temporarily cancelled the bounty (Hall 1990) (Graph 2.2). Consequently, the number of cougars killed in that time period dropped to almost zero (Graph 2.3). The bounty was reinstated the following year after “widespread public complaints concerning the lack of cougar population control” (Hall 1990, 8). In 1957, the bounty system was suspended and the Predator Control Branch of the BC Government took over the role of exterminating cougars. But attitudes among the public towards cougars shifted significantly during this time, and cougars were soon reclassified as a “big game animal” in 1966, the same year the Fish and Game Branch of the government!s Department of Recreation and Conservation was changed to the Fish and Wildlife Branch. The early roots of this public shift in perception had been spreading for some time, informed to an extent by what scholars have identified as a nostalgia for something lost in the transition to industrialism (White 1994; Dunlap 1988b; Colpitts 2002). The loss was a cultural one, says White (1994): if game animals disappeared, where would the prized qualities of masculinity and frontier spirit derived from killing game be cultivated? The answer was found at first in sport hunting fields.  18  Game When Daniel Boone goes by, at night The phantom deer arise And all lost, wild America Is burning in their eyes (Carr and Benet 1933) Historically, hunting fundamentally shaped human!s relationship to animals. Pitted as “an armed confrontation between the human world and the untamed wilderness, between culture and nature!! (Cartmill 1995, 774), hunting was a performance of the culture-nature divide, of human dominance over animals. 13 This confrontation was especially pronounced in sport, or “game” hunting, which self-consciously distinguished itself from other forms of hunting, such as subsistence or hunting for fur or other marketable commodities, by its primarily recreational objectives. Although sport hunting had been popular in Europe, the United States and central and eastern Canada for some time, it was not until the end of the First World War, when a variety of cheap protein alternatives to wild meat became available through railway and technological development, that sport hunting became a legitimate and widespread recreational activity among a particular set of British Columbians: white, upper-middle class, urban, and male, with predominately British heritage (Dunlap 1988a; Warren 1997; Herman 2001; Loo 2001; Colpitts 2002; Smalley 2005a; 2005b). Game hunting contemptuously set itself apart from subsistence and market hunting through the sportsman!s code, an imported British etiquette of hunting and sportsmanship whose (often bizarre) principles were often only adopted in theory and not in practice (Reiger 1975, 29).14 Urged on by advertisements in hunting magazines and by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, white, wealthy BC men of urban commerce headed to the hills in the thousands to recover nature, health, manliness and chivalry by killing animals who had become, according to White (1994, 272) symbols of the lost West, symbols of a freedom and wildness” (see also Colpitts 2002). In other interpretations, the hunting and exhibition of trophy animals was underwritten by ideologies of domination, colonialism and patriarchy (Haraway 1989; Ritvo 1990; Ryan 2000; Loo 2001; Kalof and Fitzgerald 2003; Brower 2005).  13  According to Cartmill (1995), for a killed animal to be considered “hunted”, the quarry must be wild (not docile), free (not captive) and the hunt must involve human-initiated, premeditated, direct violence. 14 For instance, the code stipulated that hunted meat was not for human consumption; however, reportedly sport hunters in BC continued rely on sport hunting as a significant food source (Colpitts 2002). See Cartmill (1995, Ch. 4) for a lengthy list of the peculiar terminological and ceremonial traditions that governed the practices of sport hunting.  19  It took far longer for animals in the predator category to be recognised as valuable native wildlife than avian and other mammalian creatures classified differently (Loo 2006). A predator is any animal that survives by killing and feeding on other animals. In practice, however, the North American animals that have historically occupied the classification “predator” have been limited to cougars, wolves and coyotes. Predators were not considered game because game was hunted for pleasure, not out of a desire to protect livestock or other game animals. W.F. Pochin, author of the Angling and hunting guide of British Columbia (1946, 181) states simply that “the cougar is not a game animal because he is a predator… one of the most cunning and ruthless animals to roam the woods of the province”. Predators were widely despised in North America for the first part of the twentieth century, even by wildlife preservationists. 15 Hunters disliked predators because they killed game; ranchers because they killed livestock; nature lovers and early environmentalists because “they killed cute animals” (White 1994, 272). Until the 1960s, cougars were, as discussed in the previous section, largely considered obstacles to rather than the pursuit of sport hunting on Vancouver Island (Loo 2006). Puma concolor  vancouverensis were competitors for prized trophies such as deer and elk and people were afraid of them. As W.W. Mair, the head of the Canadian Wildlife Service, said of predators in 1956 (quoted in Loo 2006, 149), “I do not think we need to shoot them but I think it is unrealistic to say you should not shoot them. I suspect that if I were living in one of those areas and had a rifle, I would be shooting them”. In the mid twentieth century, urbanisation and economic growth took many BC residents off farms. Consequently, there was less of an agricultural way of life for cougars to threaten. For an urbanising population, cougars became regarded as part of a rapidly diminishing wilderness, rather than antagonists to it. This shift was by no means a clean break. It was complex and uneven, and involved clashes between a scientific opinion that argued for the ecological value of predators and rural knowledge and tradition that maintained predators were a threat to human communities. 16 By the end of the 1960s the former view was officially entrenched in government policy and in the majority of public opinion. Cougars were re-classified by the BC government from vermin to game animals in 1966. Cougars were officially legitimate recreational hunting 15  Even Aldo Leopold (1887–1948), now famous for his nature writing and prescient environmentalist critiques, and considered the “father” of wildlife preservation in the US, was initially a strong advocate of predator eradication. Only towards the late 1930s did he come to see predators as essential aspects of the ecosystem (Meine 1991) (see Leopold (1949) for his personal writings on the subject of his conversion), and even then, his rehabilitation towards predators was in advance of the mainstream. 16 See Loo (2006, Chapter 6) for a detailed summary of BC!s changing position towards predators in the twentieth century.  20  quarry. Hunting licenses were required to hunt vancouverensis. Instead of being paid by the government to hunt cougars, hunters needed to pay the government in order to hunt, a system that remains in place today. In the BC government!s most recent report concerning cougars, the Fish and Wildlife Branch states that the cougar is an integral part of BC wildlife “as a legitimate form of outdoor recreation for the hunter and non-hunter alike” (Spalding 1994, 5). While thinking that cougars are a form of outdoor recreation for non-hunters is at best dubious, cougars are popular targets for hunters (Graph 2.4 and Figure 2.4). 17  Graph 2.4  Provincial cougar harvest by resident and non-resident kills 1970 – 2003  Data sources: 1970-1976: Hall, D. 1990. Island gold: a history of cougar hunting on Vancouver Island. Victoria: Cougar Press Limited, 12-13. 1977-2003: BC Ministry of the Environment. 2005a. Big game harvest statistics. Victoria: Government of BC. Available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/. Last accessed: 01 November 2008.  Contemporary sport hunting on Vancouver Island, although no longer necessarily the domain of the urban elite, remains a largely white male pursuit (Manore and Miner 2006).18 For trophy hunters, Vancouver Island is “one of the few "two-cat! territories in North America” (North Island Guide Outfitters 2008), meaning that unlike most jurisdictions on the continent that restrict cougar hunting to one cougar per hunter per season, the BC government allows two 17  The trend of increasing interest in cougar game hunting in BC is somewhat aberrant, as North American game hunting is widely thought to be declining (Cf. Warren 1997; Manore and Miner 2006) 18 Beyond this observation, data regarding hunter demographics are scant.  21  vancouverensis to be shot per hunter per hunting season. There are two hunting seasons per year, running back to back from mid-September to 31 March and then 01 April to the middle of June. 19 Essentially, cougar hunting is allowed year round save for the three summer months, and the division of the year into two distinct hunting seasons permits four Island cougars to be shot per hunter per year. This generous bag limit attracts hunters from around the world (Trophy West 2008). A Vancouver Island cougar hunting trip, advertises Trophy West Guide Outfitters (2008) on its website, “is an opportunity to harvest one of North America's most efficient predators as well as providing [sic] some memorable photo and video opportunities”. Between 1993 and 2003, an average of just fewer than 400 cougars per year were killed. During this time, an average of 1,135 resident cougar hunting licenses (currently $30) and 185 non-resident cougar hunting licenses (currently $230) were sold per year, on top of the resident (currently $32) and non-resident (currently $180) basic hunting licenses required to hunt in BC (BC Ministry of Environment 2009) (Graph 2.5). Since the 1990s, the extra-local contingent of sport hunters has more than doubled (Graphs 2.4 and 2.5)  Graph 2.5  Provincial cougar hunting licenses by resident and non-resident, 1977-2004  Data source: BC Ministry of the Environment. 2005b. Big game hunting license statistics. Victoria: Government of BC. Available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/wildlife/. Last accessed: 01 November 2008.  19  This year!s hunting season is from 12 September 2009 – 31 March 2010 and 01 April – 15 June 2010. For more information about bag limits and hunting seasons for all game in BC, including Vancouver Island, see BC Ministry of Environment (2009).  22  Extra-local hunters foot a bill in the thousands. In addition to the non-resident hunting fee, hunters pay for a licensed BC hunting guide accompaniment that costs upwards of $7500 dollars. Trophies can also be purchased without the hunt. Full mount cougar trophies will sell from anywhere between 1500 to over 4000 dollars (Kubi West 2008). In the mid-twentieth century, a rift opened in earnest within the erstwhile-uneasy alliance of sport hunting conservationists and nature appreciating preservationists. Escalating public concern for wildlife of all types precipitated a sea change in general attitudes toward sport hunters. As wilderness tourism!s popularity increased, enabled by the automobile and catalysed by factors discussed in the next section, sport hunters were increasingly admonished. Unlike some areas of North America where sport hunting almost disappeared, hunters continue to kill animals for recreation on the Island at roughly the same rate as they have over the last halfcentury. Considering the increase in population of and visitation to the Island over this time, however, the percentage of residents and visitors engaged in sport hunting has decreased. Instead, for reasons explored in the following section, many residents and visitors of Vancouver Island select a camera over a gun as the means to shoot wildlife.  Wildlife The wild is perhaps the very possibility of being eaten by a mountain lion (Snyder 1995 in Davis 1998, 205) A longstanding theme in Canadian literature and popular culture is what Margaret Atwood (1972) refers to as “animal victims”. Ernest Thompson Seton exemplified this theme early on when he asked a reproachful and prescient question: “Have the wild things no moral or legal rights? What right has man [sic] to inflict such long and fearful agony on a fellow-creature, simply because that creature does not speak his language?” By the time of Seton!s writing, naturalist and preservationist impulses were well established. American writers such as John Muir and Henry Thoreau had for some time been calling attention to the value of “nature”. The preservationist initiative was bound to a particular notion of nature. At the time of Seton!s writing, this was for the most part nature without predators. Nineteenth and early twentieth century animal-lovers had “no more use for predatory animals and birds than did hunters” (Dunlap 1988b, 15). Cougars, wolves, and other carnivorous creatures were disparaged and eliminated systematically, as detailed earlier in this chapter. Early stirrings in the defence of predators  23  came from writers such as Seton and Aldo Leopold,20 a reformed predator hater. These early castigations of predator elimination were, however, far from commonplace, and did not manifest in a wider movement against predator hunting until the mid-twentieth century. On Vancouver Island, celebrated naturalist Roderick Haig-Brown was an enthusiastic hunter of cougars. He was trained to hunt with hounds by Vancouver Island!s most famous cougar bounty hunter, “Cougar” Cecil Smith. His 1946 book Panther for young adults chronicles the hunting adventures of cougars and cougar hunters, based on five years that Haig-Brown spent hunting with Cougar Smith on the Island. Between the 1950s and 70s the scale of “man as villain” and “animal as victim” expanded and took hold within the mainstream Canadian public. Entire species and ecosystems were widely considered at risk of extinction. 21 Most Canadians by this time viewed nature as a complex web of life, in which animals were part of the woof and weave, including the predators, which were no longer considered nature!s enemy but rather part of nature and natural processes. While shifts in scientific opinion also motivated these changes in public attitudes, it was animal fiction, “animal as victim” tales in films and books, which planted the first seeds of change. Popular stories emblematic and productive of the shift to include predators in preservation projects included in the early 1900s Seton!s multiple works, and later Farley Mowatt!s Never cry wolf and his film with Bill Mason, Cry of the Wild. The same nostalgia for and desire to possess a “lost wilderness” that motivated early sport hunters persisted within and indeed catalysed the sentiment found within Mowatt and the writings of others. As the last lines of Never cry wolf (Mowat 1962, 246) read: “Somewhere to the eastward a wolf howled… It was George, sounding the wasteland for an echo from the missing members of his family. But for me it was a voice which spoke of the lost world which was once ours before we chose the alien role; a world which I had glimpsed and almost entered… only to be excluded, at the end, by my own self”. Wilderness was a lost world for humans. But the predator was rehabilitated (Loo 2006). Not only were predators permitted as legitimate components of wilderness. They began to be seen as emblematic of it. Over the course of the mid-twentieth century, predators went from pariahs to paragons of wilderness. Again, this had much to do with how wilderness and nature were conceptualised. In the “new” wilderness paradigm, nature exists on the “edge” or  20  Seton actually defended cougars and predation far before governments, writers, and the general public stopped despising predators, as is evident in his plea for an end to the brutality against cougars in the last section of his chapter “Puma” in The lives of game animals (1909). 21 See Atwood 1972, chapter 3; Foster 1998, chapter 9; Loo 2006, chapters 6 and 7.  24  “frontier” of civilisation. It is static, passive and exists in opposition to, rather than in collaboration with, the steady progress of human civilisation (Cronon 1995). Canadian identity (or, at least one Canadian identity) is forged in the struggles to “save” nature. All of these notions of nature depend fundamentally upon a “universal nature” empty of both agency and human inhabitants (Tsing 2005). Wildlife belongs “naturally” in wilderness because wildlife is by definition nonhuman. That is, wildlife is a category, a classification, created in opposition to the domestic: that which is human or humanised (Goedeke and Herda-Rapp 2005). There are few creatures that better embody the non-domestic than cougars, creatures who “make their living by not being seen” (Link et al. 2005, 3), whose elusiveness made them “ghostly” and “mysterious” – the ultimate “outsider”. In nature-cultures that celebrate wilderness as a space without humans, populated by untamed beasts, few animals seem better suited to occupy this space than cougars. Vancouverensis is now routinely invoked as the embodiment of the wild on book and magazine covers, movies, and advertisements, testament to the belief that “no animal evokes the… web of nature on such a grand scale as the cougar” (Lowe 2007, 6). Only forty years after paying bounty hunters and the Predator Control Branch to eliminate cougars, the BC government now maintains that “the importance of the cougar as an integral part of the wildlife of British Columbia cannot be overemphasized” (Spalding 1994). On Vancouver Island, where an increasing proportion of economic activity is supplied by eco-tourism, wildlife is an essential part of the “nature experience”. Visitors to Vancouver Island are tantalised: “West Coast wilderness awaits you”. They are invited to “experience it as you hike along the windswept rocky coast, over dry hilltops, through dark rain forest to sheltered coves… [where] you!ll experience solitude and harmony with nature… untouched by urban progress”. They are told they will witness “a timeless beauty” (CRD Parks n.d.). Following White (1994), wild animals in this context are less tangible commodities for their fur or meat than they are experiential commodities, symbols of the free and pristine “Super, Natural British Columbia!”. 22 A Parks Canada official on Vancouver Island notes that a phenomenon exists known among park officials as “cougar fever” (Kristy 2009). “When people come to parks they expect that they!ll see wildlife, like it!s a part of the park permit fee that we!ll provide them with this wildlife experience”, she says. “It!s like they think it!s their right… If one or two people encounter a cougar then everyone wants to have that experience… people chase them with  22  The Super, Natural British Columbia! brand was created in the 1970s by Tourism BC, who calls the “wildlife viewing” in British Columbia “both plentiful and spectacular” (Tourism BC 2008).  25  cameras”. People forget that these are real live wild cougars, she remarks. They can be dangerous and are highly unpredictable. Tensions abound within this wilderness paradigm, particularly with respect to how exactly cougars are to be imagined and encountered as wildlife. Tourists and residents are drawn to the Island for its West Coast Wilderness and yet when this wilderness behaves wildly and unpredictably, when the wild does not stay confined to the wilderness, fear, anxiety and overreaction ensue. This brings me back to the theme of this chapter: the human side of the human-cougar relationship. Following Loo (2006), the trouble with cougars is that flesh and blood creatures do not always conform to their classifications. The classification of cougars as wildlife, free and emotive, noble and “out there” is upset continually by cougars themselves as they go about their daily lives, behaving unpredictably as they are wont to do. Classifications of nonhuman animals are never stable. Complex systems and actors always and everywhere disrupt classification, whether governmental or scientific. The figure of Puma concolor  vancouverensis illustrates this in many ways, as it has been shuffled about from Felis to Puma and vermin to game, never achieving a neat fit within any of these classifications. In the following chapter, I explore how academics have recently begun to grapple with the disruptive capacities of nonhumans, with the myriad ways in which nonhumans are active subjects rather than passive objects. To do so, I explore two main themes – agency and space – with respect to nonhuman animals. I ask: what might animal agency, and the more than human production of space, mean for understanding cougar-human entanglements on Vancouver Island?  26  Chapter 3. Agency and space in a more-than-human world [E]ffects of conjuncture (and that is the world) (Derrida 1994, 18) In the thousands of years since the Ancient Greeks first used dogs! “profound scenting ability” in forensic work (MacKay 2008), humans have enlisted the olfactory abilities of domestic dogs in multiple projects, from tracking game to safeguarding livestock. More recently, “detection dogs”, predominantly larger breeds such as Labrador retrievers and German shepherds, are relied upon to locate everything from drugs and explosives to avalanche victims, bootlegged CDs, and agricultural contraband. “If dogs are used properly”, says Zwickel (1980, 535), “this is equivalent to adding a new sense to the observer”. Of particular relevance to work I carry out in Chapter 5, detection dogs are integral elements of wildlife science, first used in New Zealand conservation work in the 1890s by the country!s first conservation officer, Richard Henry, to locate flightless kakapo and kiwi. Over the next century, biologists studying carnivores increasingly enrolled teams of dogs and their trainers. The dogs undergo extensive, lifelong training to detect trace odours and distinguish scents. Far-reaching networks have developed to circulate pairs of detection dogs and trainers around the world. Detection dogs in conflict zones, science, rescue missions, and borderlands, are essential to practices that enhance safety, produce knowledge, and maintain laws. Dogs! detection work is but a tiny example of animals! innumerable functions in the world. Nonhumans, as Barad (2007, 32) says, “play an important role in naturalcultural practices, including everyday social practices, scientific practices, and practices that do not include humans.” But these roles are consistently overlooked. While the humanities are as humanist “inasmuch as they study and theorise a world of humans amongst themselves”, says Pickering (1995, 3), and sciences are “antihumanist” inasmuch as they study and theorise a material world from which humans are absent, posthumanist work seeks to bridge the gap between these two approaches. In the last couple of decades, a small group of scholars has stressed the lack of attention to what has been called the “animal question.” This chapter begins by summarising the key elements of recent academic – particularly geographical – commentary in this respect, summarising why animals deserve our academic consideration and how this consideration can thus far be characterised. After this brief discussion, I turn to laying the theoretical foundations for analyses that follow in subsequent chapters, in particular, two key themes I believe are central to tackling the “animal question” in geographical and social thought: agency and space. 27  The “animal question” in (more-than-)human geography and beyond The stuff of companionship, sustenance, literature, art, spectacle, clothing, and science, nonhuman animals share every conceivable space with human animals. This animal omnipresence is belied by animals! marked absence from historical and contemporary social scientific work, a gap noted by a growing number of social scientists across multiple disciplines who have, over the last three decades, become interested in animals and human-animal relationships. Scholars in the nascent field now known as Human-Animal Studies, or just Animal Studies, are united by a central recognition: humans share the earth with myriad other creatures who deserve not only attention for their role in shaping what has previously been misunderstood as a purely world, but also ethical consideration for their presence as other living beings with whom we are conjoined in innumerable ways.1 Although geographers are recognised for their long tradition of exploring the relationship between society and environment, animals did not figure significantly in the discipline before the mid-1990s, bringing geographers relatively late to the “animating” of social sciences (Wolch and Emel 1995; Whatmore 2000). 2 Also somewhat belated in questioning the naturalised terms “nature” and “environment” (Fitzsimmons 1989; Castree 2002), it was only in the early 1990s that geographers joined scholars from various intellectual traditions—political ecology, poststructuralism, feminism, environmental history, and science studies—in arguing for the need to re-cognise Nature and Culture as falsely dichotomised, and equally socio-natural. Part of this project was to acknowledge how nonhuman animals are not merely objects of human inquiry and action, but are rather active subjects in the production and constitution of institutions, histories, economies, systems and laws. In 1995, Jennifer Wolch and Jody Emel edited a prescient special issue of the journal Environment and Planning D: Society and Space dedicated to, as the issue was called, “Bringing the animals back in”. Geographers, said Wolch and Emel, like most their disciplinary counterparts, tended to place nature and all of its sentient and nonsentient constituents – except humans – in an undifferentiated black box. Work in the late 1980s, epitomised by Fitzsimmons!s (1989) oft-quoted article, “The matter of nature”, began 1  The most famous contemporary social theorists to articulate ideas in this spirit include Agamben (2004), Derrida (2002, 2003), and Haraway (2003, 2008). 2 Notable exceptions include Marion Newbigin!s (1913) study, Animal geography: The faunas of the natural regions of the globe; a zoogeography that followed and persists quietly and empirically to this day; a short-lived cultural animal geography pioneered by Carl Sauer in the 1950s and 1960s but quickly subsumed by cultural ecology; and Yi Fu Tuan!s (1984) prescient and engaging exposé of paternalism and pet-keeping, Dominance and affection: the making of pets. However, these contributions were isolated and short-lived.  28  to question the interplay between this black box nature and culture. Animals, however, remained under-theorised. In 1995, Wolch and Emel called on geographers to let animals out of the box. Writing at a time of 1) escalating popular concern for animal welfare and animal rights, 2) intensification of the “animal economy”, and 3) growing environmental and feminist concerns, the contributors to this special issue of Society and Space were united in chastising geography for neglecting to emphasise, let alone acknowledge, the centrality of animals to geographies. Academically, these scholars were informed by a decade of publishing in four major areas. In science and technology studies, writers such as Bruno Latour (1988, 1993) and Michel Callon (1986) challenged anthropocentric conceptions of agency, suggesting that rather than being passive objects, nonhumans – including animals and technologies – were active subjects in constituting the world. 3 Scholars in feminist studies (Hawaray 1989, 1991; Plumwood 1993; Birke 1994) made related arguments, pointing out the gendered historical links that are continually re-forged between women and a dominated passive nature, and men and a dominating active culture, and thus the need to dismantle not only the assignment of passive to nature and active to culture, but also the division between the two realms. Environmental historians argued for a similar rupturing of the nature-culture binary, demonstrating the cultural dimensions of wilderness (most famously Cronon 1995) and asked scholars to see the environment as an active historical agent rather than a passive backdrop or resource for human affairs (White 1995). Finally, postcolonial studies made similar calls with respect to the treatment of the indigenous “other” (Anderson 1998; Tiffin 2001). These critiques opened up a space within which animals could be reconsidered, and several geographers, tackling topics from zoos to feral cats, joined other disciplines in efforts to take up the “animal question”.4 The “animal question” is motivated by the recognition that humans foundationally depend upon animals, and that animals are intimately linked to humans! notions and performances of "progress!. So linked, in fact, that humans do not see either these relationships or, in any full, ethical, engaged way, animals themselves (Wolch and Emel 1998b). By virtue of our closeness to animals, however, and the nefarious consequences for them, we – humans, academics, geographers – have both an intellectual and ethical responsibility for the lives of animals, for the “animal question”. Animal geographers thus work to re-cognise animals as “change-making creatures” (Fudge 2006), to “unsettle their taken-for-granted status as material objects and 3  The concept of agency and how it relates to nonhumans is explored in more detail in the following section on agency. 4 See Wolch and Emel (1998a) and Philo and Wilbert (2000a) for two collections on animal geographies.  29  consider the theoretical consequences of admitting them as radically different kinds of subject into the company of the social” (Whatmore 2002, 11). It is challenging to forego inherited categories, such as those separating culture and nature, and perhaps even more challenging to research animals in the social sciences without reverting to anthropocentrism or paternalism (Johnston 2008). Although there have been several key contributions by human geographers to the project of opening up scholarly and political spaces to animals, geography is still, as Noel Castree protests, “a profoundly anthropocentric discipline” (2003a, 207). A glimpse of the beastly places as lived by animals themselves is still largely missing (Philo and Wilbert 2000b); scholarship is still plagued by a residual humanism; and too many studies purporting to be about animals, including most of the books and articles discussed in this essay, quickly turn to and remain focused on humans. It is in the spirit of resisting this tendency towards anthropocentrism that I take up the question of cougar-human relationships on Vancouver Island. I explore two key themes of geographic thought – agency and space. My interest lies not in drawing on the cougar “cases” to shed light on theories of agency and space but rather in drawing on such theories in hopes of shedding light on cougars. Levi-Strauss (1970, 204) was right years ago when he commented: “animals are good to think with”. But this has the ring of a self-serving proposition. Animals may be good to think with but it is more important that this exercise be good for animals.  Agency Social scientists and theorists have long been occupied by the concept of agency, conventionally loosely defined as the capacity for an agent – an individual human – to act in the world. I am interested in exploring a radically different notion of agency within this thesis. It is popularised by late twentieth century work in science and technology studies (STS), particularly Actor Network Theory (ANT) – and has quickly taken hold within feminist studies and the social sciences, geography not least among them. This re-worked idea of agency still views agency as the capacity to produce an effect in the world, but holds that agency is not strictly the domain of humans. Nonhumans – living organisms as well as inorganic entities such as technologies and even intangible, semiotic elements such as ideas – are made eligible agents through denying two defining components of liberal humanist accounts of agency: first, that intentionality is a prerequisite for agency; and second, that agency is a capacity that belongs to an individual. Rather, STS and other theorists maintain that agency is a relational achievement that arises between and within heterogeneous associations – or networks – of entities who do not 30  individually, intrinsically hold within themselves the capacity to act but rather find and exert that capacity through their relations with other beings. In other words, agency is not an individual, human capacity bound to intentionality. Rather, it is a dynamic process of making a difference in the world that arises through complex, fluid associations between humans and nonhumans, or nonhumans and nonhumans. In this chapter I explore the theoretical development of this notion of agency, its implications for how we think about and relate to the world, and why it is being brought to bear on the work in this thesis. The conventional understanding of agency as a human subject!s capacity to act in and exert influence upon the world is associated with a distinctly humanist mode of social thought. Humanism is at its most broad a belief in “a central and active role for man [sic]” (Ley 1980, 24). More critically, it is rooted in a series of what Latour (1993) refers to as the Great Divides imagined between nature and culture, human and nonhuman. Humans and their cultures, separate from nonhumans and nature, are usually conceived of within humanism as exceptional and transcendent (Haraway 2008). Within humanism, the human subject is the only being endowed with agency because among living creatures, only humans are considered capable of both intention and language. The latter forms the prerequisite capacity for agency (Franklin 2006). Humanism dominated social and geographical thought for much the twentieth century. During the mid-century!s “quantitative revolution” in geography, when a “spatial science” emerged, the focus remained on a reconceptualised human: homo economicus, the rational and self-interested human. 5 Homo economicus acts according to what s/he understands to be in his or her individual best interest, according to what will bring him or her the most utility. The structuralist movement that took hold in geography shortly thereafter shifted away from individuals as a unit of analysis and emphasised instead the power of structures – classes, economies, institutions, social norms – in determining social meaning and behaviour. Structuralist geography was closely tied to Marxism. The human subject was of little consequence because structuralists understood meaning and action to be generated by larger social structures beyond the influence of any individual. In the 1970s and "80s, so-called “post-structuralist” geography developed, and was concerned with the impossibility of a unified or essential self. Where structuralism emphasised structure, objectivity, order and systems, post-structuralism emphasised relations, fluidity, multiplicity, instability and difference (Murdoch 2006). Initially, post-structuralism appeared in 5  For discussion of the quantitative revolution as it took hold in economic geography, see Barnes (2001; 2004).  31  geography as a shift in attention away from economy and towards culture and the reading of cultural texts, in what has been called the “cultural turn” (Barnes 2001). Geographers became concerned with attending to “the ways in which meanings are spun around topoi of different lifeworlds, threaded into social practices and woven into relations of power” (Gregory 1994, 76). Lifeworlds and the “social” here were largely conceptualised in human terms. It was not until the mid 1990s that nonhuman entities began to be acknowledged as active constituents in social life.6 While structuralism was not humanist inasmuch as it disregarded the human subject, it retained a concern for solely human structures and systems. If any role for nonhuman entities was acknowledged under humanism or structuralism it was limited to a constraining capacity (Murdoch 2006). In other words, the external realm of nature and nonhuman entities formed the bounds of possibility within which human agency and action occurred. Nature and nonhumans did not figure into the equation any more significantly than this. Nature was thus widely considered an external, passive backdrop upon which human affairs played out. The "external! part of this characterisation was first called into question in the 1990s, when post-structuralism and humanism combined forces. Geographers found myriad examples of the social construction of various, previously untroubled notions, such as space and nature (Harvey 1996). Humans did not only have the capacity to shape their own futures, these scholars argued. Humans also collectively shaped how they thought about and experienced things that were until that point considered external and immutable, such as nature (Fitzsimmons 1989). To parse it crudely, post-structuralism informed the geographical analyses that deconstructed the boundary between Latour!s Great Divides, suggesting, for example, that nature and culture were not two separate categories (Murdoch 2006). A residual humanism, on the other hand, drove the part of these geographical analyses that focused on how humans construct the world materially and semiotically, how nature was actually a cultural construct (cf. Braun 2002). But as Bakker and Bridge (2006) point out, nature and the material realm are still consigned to passive roles in theorisation. Nature is subsumed under social constructivism. Before long, scholars rejecting humanism began to argue that this explanation of “nature” was at best only part the story. In fact, said geographers for Noel Castree, Sarah Whatmore, and Nigel Thrift, among others, humans were not the only entities that mattered, materially-semiotically. Influenced by years of  6  For an excellent and more detailed summary of structuralist and post-structuralist geography, see Murdoch (2006, chapter 1).  32  work in STS, namely work in ANT, these geographers recognised a relational, decentred, nonhuman agency. In 1979, Latour and Steve Woolgar published Laboratory life, a book that set out ethnomethodologically to examine “the way in which the daily activities of working scientists lead to the construction of scientific facts” (40) and ended up inspiring the development of what John Law (1999, 2) has called a “multi-national monster”: Actor Network Theory (ANT). Laboratory life is not formally associated with ANT, but it emphasises the material processes and objects through which laboratory concepts are inscribed and take shape. In other words, the authors show how a long chain of processes produces facts. At the end of this chain, the processes are erased. The authors also show how facts and objects acquire meaning within networks. Latour and Woolgar (1979, 107)) define a network in this early work as “a set of positions within which an object… has meaning”. In Latour and Woolgar!s case, the object in question is a hormone, the peptide TRF(H), but objects, as I suggested earlier, can be anything. The material, technical, and human resources of the network, in this case within the laboratory, affect the kinds of facts and meanings that are constructed and formulated about the object. The authors also offer the first articulation of terms such as “translation”, “transcription”, and “inscription” as ways of understanding how entities within the network are enrolled and deployed. These terms and ideas combined to form the theoretical of ANT. A “material-semiotic” approach – that is, simultaneously about materiality (things) and semiotics (concepts, signs, symbols and language) – ANT suggests that “entities”, which can be anything from ideas to machines, “take their form and acquire their attributes as a result of their relations with other entities'' (Law, 1999, 3). The world is made up of multiple actor-networks. Actors are entities that “take on meaning within a network” (Barnes 2002, 491). Building on Latour and Woolgar!s initial employment of the term “network”, networks have now come to be understood as “dense knottings of myriad entities whose material capacities cannot be separated from the knottings but, equally, are not reducible to them” (Castree 2003b, 9). Some Actor Network theorists persistently deny the “Theory” part of ANT!s name (Law 1999). They say that to call ANT a “theory” is at cross-purposes with ANT tries to do. That is, “theory” suggests a simple and fixed identity, and ANT is an assemblage of ideas that emphasises messiness and flux, not simplicity and fixity. Actor Network theorists generally seek out the complexities underpinning what are perceived to be simple facts, and they reject the possibility of fixed, immutable identities. They also reject the possibility of determining one universal theory that can explain how the world works (Law 1999). ANT!s entire name has been bemoaned by 33  one of its founders, Bruno Latour (2005, 9), who calls it “awkward… confusing, and… meaningless” and yet defends it, in large part because its acronym, ANT, is “perfectly fit for a blind, myopic… trail-sniffing, and collective traveller” (9). Although a diverse set of ideas resides imperfectly under ANT!s banner and only an “ad hoc and makeshift” litmus test exists for ANT membership (Latour 2005, 10), it has perhaps become most widely renowned for its insistence on the agency and performative capacity of nonhumans. Three documents established ANT formally and in earnest, according to Latour (2005): Latour!s own (1988) book The pasteurization of France, and two chapters in Law!s (1986a) edited volume Power, action, and belief: a new sociology of knowledge?, one by Law (1986b), and one by Callon (1986). The authors considered microbes, ships, and scallops, respectively, as nonhumans that were actors, not simply, “hapless bearers of symbolic projection” (Latour 2005, 10). The kind of agency envisioned by Latour, Law and Callon for their microbes, ships and scallops is distinctly different from humanist agency. Actors under ANT need not  intentionally exert influence in order to achieve their status as actors. Furthermore, agency does not reside within any individual actor but is the effect of the actors coming together within heterogeneous and dynamic networks. I illustrate this through a discussion of Michel Callon!s (1986) study of fishermen, scientists and scallops in St. Brieuc Bay, France. With the objective of developing a “new approach to the study of power”, Callon introduces the “sociology of translation.” This analytical framework refuses sociological explanations 1) that acknowledge the uncertainty of “nature” but leave “society” as an undisturbed category and 2) in which, when “society” confronts “nature”, “society always has the last word” (197). Instead, Callon carries out an analysis in which society is uncertain and disputable, and no actor within society is given a privileged point of view. All actors are treated equally in what Callon (1986) calls “the principle of generalised symmetry”. Moreover, actors are not only human beings. Nonhumans are actors, too. Correspondingly, within the sociology of translation observers must abandon all a priori distinctions between natural and social events because “the capacity of certain actors to get other actors – whether they be human beings, institutions or natural entities – to comply with them depends upon a complex web of interrelations in which Society and Nature are intertwined” (Callon 1986, 200). Callon works these principles through a case study of scientists who sought to study and cultivate scallops, or “domesticate” scallops as Callon says, in St. Brieuc Bay, France during the 1970s and "80s. He characterises the scallop study as “translation”, a process during which “the identity of actors, the possibility of interaction and the margins of manoeuvre are negotiated and 34  delimited” (202). In the first moment of the translation, what Callon calls problematisation, the actors called upon by the scientists to be enrolled in the study are identified: scallops, the fisherman in the bay, the scientists! colleagues, and the scientists themselves. Each actor is assumed to have something he/she/it wants from the alliance. The fishermen want to make a profit from the maintenance of the scallop fishery. The scientists and their colleagues want to advance knowledge. The scallops want to survive extermination from predators. Each entity/actor can submit to integration into the alliance under these terms or can conversely refuse integration and seek to re-negotiate new terms and identities for itself and/or the other entities. These negotiations and identifications are never undertaken independently. They are rather “formed and are adjusted only during action” (206) with the other entities. Callon refers to these processes of negotiation and identification as interessement, from the French, interesse, to be interested, and also inter-esse – to be interposed, or in between. Becoming part of the alliance requires being interested and being in relation with the other members of the alliance. Through interessement, the scientists attempt to enrol – or “lock in place” materially or semiotically – the actors into the initial plan that was outlined in the problematisation stage. If interessement is successful, enrolment occurs and an alliance if formed. For all sorts of reasons, though, success is never assured. In the case of St. Brieuc Bay, interessement failed to enrol a key group of entities: the scallops. Simply put, parasites, ocean currents, and multiple other factors interfered and the scallops did not anchor themselves to the testing devices, failing to behave as predicted and preventing the alliance from forming. Despite this failure, Callon maintains that the scientists still obtained the right to represent the “silent” actors of the social and natural worlds they mobilised. The scientists were what Callon calls the “spokesmen [sic]” within the translation process. A few individual scallops that did or did not anchor themselves to the testing equipment end up representing the entire population of scallops. But these scallops did not themselves express anything. Scientists were appointed to speak on their behalf. The moments of translation – problematisation, interessement, enrolment and representation – do not necessarily happen in a temporal order, but can overlap in complex ways. What the moments ultimately produce is a translation, a displacement and subsequent reassembling of actors – here the scallops – into numbers, graphs, text and papers that are portable and reproducible, with the designated spokesmen – here the scientists – at the helm. To translate is ultimately to displace. These displacements can occur at all moments of translation (Callon 1986, 214). The scallops are silenced by these displacements: to “speak for others is to first silence those in whose name we speak” (Callon 1986, 210). Importantly, the 35  social-natural worlds that are mobilised and represented by the scientists are elusive. Various actors can contest them at any moment. The scallops can again act unpredictably, becoming “dissidents” in a “silent mutiny” as they betray the representations that were mobilised by the spokesmen. The word “agency” does not appear at any point in Callon!s article, yet it is work that is the basis for rethinking agency, exemplified by the enormous citation of Callon!s article over two decades (cf. Pickering 1995; Whatmore 2002; Latour 2005; Haraway 2008). Like the detection dogs that are instrumental to the networks of avalanche rescue, Callon!s scallops are key members of the collective of San Brieuc Bay. This is not to suggest that nonhuman agency is limited to either enabling or disabling the networks that scientists construct (cf. Wilbert 2000). Rather, nonhuman actors within networks shape the network and the other entities within it. Nonhuman actors have a constellation of biophysical and behavioural qualities whose importance emerges within and through interactions with other entities within the network (Braun 2008). Entities, in concert with each other, perform the network. Unlike liberal humanist accounts of agency that emphasise intention, reason or will, and assume that the capacity to act is a property that belongs to the individual, the nonhuman agency implicit in the scallop study has three key qualities that are now considered fundamental to Actor-Network Theory!s articulation of agency. First, agency does not require intentionality. Second, agency is a relational achievement made by forming networks of entities. Third, the entities within these networks can be human or nonhuman. It is challenging to discuss each of these principles separately, as they build upon and justify each other. Below, I expand upon each of the first two principles in turn, while the third principle is discussed throughout. In definitions of agency borrowed from liberal humanism, intentionality is a prerequisite for the capacity to act, to have agency. Correspondingly, many researchers, philosophers and activists have sought to demonstrate that humans are not alone in possessing this quality, that animals and biological organisms are capable of intention and also language, communication, culture and even morality.7 The goal of this work is usually to qualify particular nonhuman beings  7  Several different bodies of literature are relevant here, but because they are only peripheral to my overall argument, I only briefly mention three key ones, understanding that there is overlap between them. First, social theorists from many disciplines maintain that nature and nonhuman beings do possess intentionality, for example Plumwood (1993) and Jones and Cloke (2002). In another rapidly growing body of literature, ethologists and scientists point to evidence of nonhuman animal communication (Goodall 1971; Griffin 2001; Bekoff 2007; Douglas 2008), culture (Warren 2009) and morality (Bekoff and Pierce 2009). Finally, some interpretations of the Gaia Hypothesis, popular among “deep green” ecological  36  for ethical consideration. Actor Network theorists and feminist science scholars have tackled the terms of this agential admittance from a different angle, vigilantly opposing the requirement of intention for qualification as an agent (Haraway 1991; 1997; 2008; Pickering 1995; Barad 2003; 2007; Law 1994; Latour 1993; 2005; Whatmore 1999; 2002). They argue that intentionality is simply not necessary for agency. This requirement would rule out much human action, as actions are often unconscious and inadvertent (Law and Hassard 1999; Thrift 2001; Franklin 2006). Furthermore, if intention must be demonstrated to qualify as having agency, then the actions of nonhumans, actions that matter deeply to the constitution of socio-natural life (Haraway 2008), are overlooked. Rather than finding evidence of intention in nonhumans, Actor Network theorists deny that intention is required for agency, thereby admitting nonhumans into the realm of possible agents. They further argue that to humans and nonhumans are only actors insofar as they interact, or act in relation to other actors. The second principle of ANT!s articulation of agency is that it is relational. Relationality is a popular concept in the social sciences of late. Relational ontologies take as a starting point that there are no pre-given entities, that entities do not pre-exist their relations and entities only take shape in relation to other entities (Barad 2007). In relating, the actors and the network are changed (Hinchliffe 2007). Importantly, there is no pre-given uniform state upon which relations play out, and no entity is discrete. Everything that exists is a relation between entities. As Bingham (1996, 647) points out, “every actor is also a network”. It is a network all the way down. This does not preclude analyses of nonhuman entities or actors. Once we accept the impossibility of one discrete entity, we can still proceed with an examination of the networkentities participating in larger networks. To avoid confusion, I continue to refer to entities or actors, although I agree with Bingham in principle that they are all also networks. As discussed previously, actors here can refer to everything from ideas to objects, from subjects to identities. Extensive linguistic manoeuvres have developed around this idea of relationality. Haraway!s term artifactuality and the figure of the cyborg, Latour!s notion of hybridity, Whatmore!s “morethan-human”-ism, Barad!s intra-action and agential realism and several scholars! work on posthumanism are all examples of efforts to capture and express the messiness, complexity, and indivisibility of the world.8  thinkers and activists, suggests that the earth itself, a giant organism, has consciousness (Lovelock 1995). 8 See also Castree and Nash!s (2004) organised exchange.  37  The concept of agency upon which this thesis turns is deeply embedded in this radical relational turn. It maintains not only that entities do not pre-exist their relatings (Latour 1993; Whatmore 2002; Barad 2007; Haraway 2008), but also that agency emerges in relations, in networks, in intra-actions. In Hybrid geographies, Whatmore (2002, 4) draws on Law (1994) to carefully de-centre agency, apprehending it as a “precarious achievement spun between social actors.” Social actors, like entities, can be anything. Instead of seeing the agent as a preformed, distinct mass behaving and moving about according to its own principles and tendencies unless obstructed by “natural” or “social” forces, the relational, actor-network view of agency maintains there is no time of pure individual existence that precedes the process of association. In associating, it is not two pure forms inter-acting but rather co-constituted entities intra-acting, as Barad would say. Action and the capacity to act are thus the property of associations rather than human agents (Murdoch 1997). As Callon and Law (1995, 485) emphasise, “it's the relations . . . that are important. Relations which perform. Perform agency”. So perhaps, Barad (2007, 23) wonders, “it is less that there is an assemblage of agents than there is an entangled state of agencies”. Far from intrinsic, “competencies and capacities of "things!… derive from association” (Bakker and Bridge 2006, 16, my emphasis). Relational agency, then, is not an innate or static quality that an organism possesses, but rather it emerges as an effect generated and performed in configurations of different materials. Anything can potentially have the power to shape these configurations, to change the nature of the effect (Philo and Wilbert 2000a), as Callon!s scallop case neatly demonstrates. We can cast dogs! enrolments in drug detection as their participation in a network of entities that emerges around border control. The outcome of this border control – say, a man being convicted of drug trafficking – is no longer viewed as an exclusively human accomplishment, evidence of the human capacity to exert change, to have agency. We can instead see this conviction as an act performed through and within an extensive, complex, and dynamic network of entities, not all of which, by any means, are human, and not the least important of which are nonhumans such as the German shepherd. Agency resides not within individual humans – the customs agent, the scallop fishermen – or nonhumans – the handcuffs, the detection dogs, the scallops – but rather in their intermingling, their mangling (Pickering 1995), their “heterogeneous associations” (Murdoch 1997) and “intra-actions” (Barad 2003, 2007). And so, if this focus on emergence, on nonhuman agency, serves among other things as a reminder that we are always co-inhabiting, always sharing spaces with multiple other entities, how might this change how we conceive of a theme that has long-occupied human geographers 38  – that of space and boundaries? Networked relations have corresponding spatial configurations. Relations necessarily draw together socio-natural entities into specific spatial formations (Thrift 1996; Murdoch 2006). What is the relationship between social, relational, heterogeneous processes and spatial processes? How are relations spatially situated? The following section explores the spatial manifestations of relational agency. It compares how space and boundary making have been traditionally conceptualised in human geography with how geographers have recently begun to rethink space and boundary making along more-than-human lines.  Space Space is an effect of network activity. It emerges from within heterogeneous networks and its shape and its form are given by the shape and form of the various networks (Murdoch 2006, 75) Geography is frequently defined by its attention to space. Geographers seem to study almost everything, but what is often cited as distinguishing geographic research from the research of, say, anthropologists or ecologists, is a spatial awareness, a questioning of how space matters to the phenomenon under study, or an analysis of the spatial distribution of research topics. But what is space? This question has predictably occupied geographers for decades, and the consensus among them – as much as one can be said to exist – about what space is has changed over time. In the last twenty years, a significant shift has taken place concerning how geographers understand space. Space is no longer considered a uniform vessel in which objects exist or over which processes unfold. Instead, it is itself a process: dynamic, open, multiple, and never finished. This section explores how and why this shift took place. It focuses in particular on how work in Actor-Network Theory has combined with geography to generate a new conceptualisation of relational space. I begin by reviewing key trends in geographic thinking about space, concluding with more contemporary ideas that established the foundation for subsequent understandings of relational space. I then review how space was conceptualised in early ANT works, namely by Latour (1987; 1988). Finally, I examine the interplay between geography and ANT with respect to space, reviewing geographic and ANT texts that have begun to synthesise a relational approach to understanding space. Essentially, the authors of these texts ask: what does an actor-network approach reveal about space and how we might understand it? What does closer attention to space reveal about actor-networks? The last century of thought about space in geography can be broadly characterised as a debate over absolute versus relative space (Jones 2009). Absolute space is conceived as 39  existing “independently of any object(s) or relations: space is a discrete and autonomous container” (Jones 2009, 489). This space is a homogeneous, grid-like surface upon which people and other beings move about. It is abstract, uniform, and universal. That is, it is the same everywhere. Places might differ from each other but space is always and everywhere the same. Space is something we are placed in, something we travel across. Space is calibrated in terms of proximity and distance and these measurements are standardised and simple, objective. Absolute space has a long genealogy. In the 100s CE, the early Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy suggested that to study and understand the earth!s space, space had to be transformed into a mathematical and geometric language. The earth!s surface had to be imagined as a being divisible by a mathematical grid (Barnes 2010). Ptolemy!s ideas about space were informed by a Euclidean geometry and in turn later informed a cartographic geography. 9 This analysis treated space as “the dead, the fixed, the undialectical, the immobile" (Foucault 1980, 70). Perhaps most important, space was conceived as closed. That is, space was considered a finite container or surface. In the early twentieth century, geographic work based on this understanding of space sought to fix the locations of events, places, and phenomena on the surface of the earth and then represent these on maps (Gregory 2000). The quantitative revolution in geography during the 1950s and "60s largely left the previous conception of space untroubled. In fact, it arguably reinforced the idea that space was a closed container or surface that could be easily measured and quantified. Quantitative geography!s abstract models and thought at this time continued to reduce the world to a Cartesian grid. Physical space was represented by mathematical space in the early tradition of Ptolemy. In the 1960s and 70s, structuralist, Marxist geographers began to criticise quantitative geographers for reducing the social into purely spatial terms. They argued for a notion of socially relative space, wherein each mode of production has a corresponding spatial formation. Modes of production produce their own spaces. Early on, work in this vein was informed by neoMarxist theory, primarily the work of Henri Lefebvre, who was not a geographer by profession but whose work on space in Marxist philosophy and sociology profoundly influenced geographers in the last part of the twentieth century, particularly David Harvey (1996) and Edward Soja (1996). In The production of space, Lefebvre (1991) argues that space is a social product. That is, space is produced by complex social practices, informed by values, perceptions, and beliefs. Lefebvre was critical of structuralist thinking, but he did consider the 9  I do not have space here to thoroughly review this genealogy. Please see Barnes (2010) and Part 2 of Massey (2005) for discussion of how this view of space developed.  40  social production of space as reproduction of society and of capitalism itself. He linked the production of space to modes of production and control. Every society, according to Lefebvre (1991, 26), has its own spatial practices and produces its own space, and these unique spaces carry with them specific “tools of thought and action… and means of control”. Work in feminist and post-structuralist theory has expanded upon this Marxist work, moving beyond capitalism and class as the explanatory loci for the production of space. They argue that the production of space is also caught up with the production race, gender, sexuality, culture, and subjects. Over the last few decades, geographers have therefore moved away from a sense of space as an absolute, “practico-inert container of action [and] towards space as process and in process, a “socially produced set of manifolds” (Crang and Thrift 2000, 2), what Massey (1991) calls a “meeting place”. Post-structuralist and feminist thought about space intersected with Actor Network Theory!s conception of space. As mentioned, feminist and post-structuralist theorists sought to widen Marxist analysis of the social production of space to include culture/gender. ANT widened further what constitutes “the social” in the social production of space. If networks that include multiple human and nonhuman constitute the social, then space is produced within and by these networks of human and nonhuman entities. The production of space is also material. I now turn to reviewing the key ways that ANT has discussed space over the last four decades. Actor Network theorists have shown ambivalent feelings towards geography over the years. For Latour, geography can be "tyrannical! (Latour 1997a, 3); it can be "reductionist! or "irreductionist! (Latour 1988). Serres and Latour (1995) claim that geography can do violence to the world or do justice to it. For these theorists, too often geographers understood the world as I discussed in the last paragraphs, that is, as composed of Euclidean and Cartesian space defined “in terms of proximity-distance, defined as a homogeneous space, a grid-like surface in which the path from the local to the global is always already given and unproblematic” (Bingham and Thrift 2000, 288; Thrift 1995). In the late "90s John Law (1997, 4) claimed that ANT is “a machine for waging war on Euclideanism”, that is, on this notion that space is fixed and absolute in its coordinates. This was because Actor Network analysis pointed to a very different kind of space. As outlined in the previous section on agency, Actor Network theorists take as a starting point that the world is built and arranged by and through sets of relations. These relations sometimes manage to achieve stability, but the stability is never permanent. Spaces and times are also forged within these networks. ANT scholars argued that space and time should no longer be conceived of as existing “independently as an unshakeable frame of reference inside 41  which events and places would occur” (Latour 1987, 228), but rather as the result of interaction, “consequences of the ways in which bodies relate to one another” (Latour 1997b, 174; Thrift and Crang 2000). The spaces that these interactions produce are dynamic, open, fluid and unfinished, bringing Latour (1997b) to comment that space is less important than the unique acts of "spacing! by which places are brought into existence through the movements of entities. Attention to space in early ANT texts is found primarily in Latour!s (1987) Science in  action and (1988) The pasteurisation of France, wherein he developed the interrelated ideas of “centres of calculation” “action at a distance”, and “immutable mobiles”, and in Law!s (1986b; 2000) studies of Portuguese imperialist expansion. I briefly review Latour!s three notions and then Law!s work in turn. In the last chapter of Science in action, Latour (1987, 223) asks a simple question: how do we – scientists, explorers – “act at a distance on unfamiliar events, places and people?” The answer, he says, is that we invent means that a) render these events, places and people mobile so that they can be brought back; b) keep them stable so that they can be moved back and forth with no disruption, distortion or decay; and c) make them combinable so that they can be aggregated and cumulated. When these three conditions are met, “a small provincial town, or an obscure laboratory, or a puny little company in a garage…will become centres dominating at a distance many other places.” These previously insignificant places become “centres of calculation”, key nodes within larger networks. It is within these centres that information and materials – what Latour terms “immutable mobiles” – are gathered, accumulated, and perhaps reconfigured, and then from these centres information and materials are disseminated. The networks assembled in order to bring objects to centres of calculation and then translate them before re-circulating them are key to constructing advantages in later circulations and exertions of power, or “action at a distance”. Moreover, “spaces are produced inside the[se] networks” (Latour 1987, 228). Central to Latour!s analysis of space are thus the many and varied “other entities that are necessary for maintaining us in existence” (1997b, 186). Or, more to the point, what is central is the circulation of these entities, their performative movements. As Latour (1988, 25) argues, “Gods, angels, spheres, doves, plants, steam engines, are not in space… On the contrary, spaces… are traced by reversible or irreversible displacements of many types of mobiles. They are generated by the movements of mobiles, they do not frame these movements”. Latour!s emphasis on entities! movements will be central to my analysis of cougars and the networked performance of space in the subsequent chapter. First I briefly review an example of the kind of spatial analysis Latour proposes.  42  Law!s (1986b; 2000) work regarding Portuguese imperial expansion is in many respects an account of exactly the process that Latour (1987) outlines above, although Law!s analysis is perhaps more explicitly spatial. Early Portuguese vessels – called Carracks – were designed to be a) adaptable to various weather conditions; b) able to carry large loads but require only small crews, c) relatively impregnable to attack; and d) able to navigate far from land. In other words, the ships – immutable mobiles – were intended to set by sea to distant lands, where crews would gather large amounts information and materials that were then transported safely back to centres of calculation – European cities. The ships, to be properly working ships, had “to borrow the force of the wind, the flow of the current, the position of the stars, the energy of the members of the crew, [they had] to borrow all these and include them (so to speak) within [themselves]” (Law 2000, 4). Once returned to the centre, the ship!s gathered information and materials were translated into maps, commodities, and books, and then re-circulated among fellow explorers, consumers and scholars. Of course, there were many points at which the process could break down. Networks could easily deteriorate. Many ships did not return. Maps were challenging to create. 10 Artefacts were lost or stolen. This is, as Law (2000, 4) says, “classic ANT”. A less widely discussed aspect of this network analysis is its implications for spatial analysis. The notion of a network is not “spatially neutral” (Law 2000, 4). When networks stabilise and objects are constituted then “spatial relations are simultaneously being performed” (Law 2000, 4). Law suggests that we have a tendency to want to say that the vessel, the object, exists within Euclidean space. To work, in other words, on the assumption that the space within which it subsists pre-exists the shape of the vessel, its own particular co-ordinates. That Cartesian space and its co-ordinate system define the conditions of im/possibility within which Euclidean objects can exist, exert identity and continuity, and experience proximity or distance. This is certainly the overwhelming sense which derives from EuroAmerican common-sense. That space comes before us. That it is a neutral container within which our bodies (or Portuguese vessels) happen to exist. But it is possible – and, if we accept ANT!s main arguments, necessary – to argue differently. What if the performance of a network or object as stable and continuous performs a space that is Cartesian in form? In Law!s (2000, 5, emphasis added) words, “to perform continuity… or to 10  See Mitchell (2002, 113-116) for related discussion map-making in late 19th and early 20th century Egypt and how the materials involved in the production of maps produced constant problems – foor instance, map paper shrunk in the Egyptian humidity and heat.  43  measure distance in terms of Cartesian co-ordinates is also to enact Euclidean space – to help to define the conditions of spatial im/possibility within which objects subsist.” To return to the classic ANT argument, when a network or object is stabilised, so too a world is being enacted. Indeed, networked performances are what bring the world into being. But a world is also a set of spatial im/possibilities. These spatial im/possibilities are not given in a pre-existing order of things. Networked performances bring those spatial im/possibilities into being as well (Law 2000). Proximity and distance are also reconfigured in the ANT version of space within which space becomes, “a question of the network elements and the way they hang together. Places with a similar set of elements and similar relations between them are close to one another, and those with different elements or relations are far apart” (Mol and Law 1994, 650; Murdoch 1998). Already it is possible to see connections between geographers! emphasis on the social production of space and Actor Network theorists! emphasis on the networked performance of space. To conclude this section, I explore contemporary geographic work on space that combines geography and ANT emphasising ideas around relational space. Jonathan Murdoch (2006, 75) has observed that ANT “poses a challenge to geography: it demands not only that a relational view of space is adopted but also that spatial relations are seen as network relations”. Responding to this challenge has significantly influenced how geographers think about space. Undoubtedly, before ANT scholars had for some centuries been dismantling Euclidean notions of space and developing more fluid, porous, plural ideas of space, as noted in the discussion that opened this section. 11 However, the idea that spaces are produced within networks of entities – objects, humans, technologies, ideas, animals, and so on – was in large part driven by ANT. In this understanding, spaces become demarcated and made not by the work of autonomous human agents or of a totalising system of “capitalism” or “economy” but rather within material-semiotic network formations (Murdoch 2006). “Space can no longer be seen as simply a "container! of heterogeneous processes; rather, space is now thought to be something that is (only provisionally) stabilised out of such turbulent processes, that is, it is made by heterogeneous relations” (Murdoch 2006, 4). Doreen Massey (1998) has taken up these ideas in what she calls a “relational approach” to space. She outlines three basic propositions intrinsic to the approach. First, space is a product of interrelations. These are relations and also relations between relations and so on. Relations all the way down. The number of possible relations is limitless, leading to the second  11  Harvey (1996) finds the beginnings of such analysis in the work of Leibniz and Whitehead, for example.  44  point. Multiplicity and space are mutually constitutive. Any number of relations may or may not come into being but regardless they do so spatially. Space is therefore “the sphere of the possibility of multiplicity” (Murdoch 2006, 20). Third, space is never closed or fixed. It is always in the process of being made as relations unfold. Space is thus where relations come into being, where “relational conflicts can emerge just as consensual relations can be consolidated. The relational making of space is both a consensual and a contested process (Massey 1998; Murdoch 2006). Space is “the product of the intricacies and complexities, the intertwinings and non-interlockings, of relations, from the unimaginably cosmic to the intimately tiny” (Massey 1998, 37). Simply put, space is made by relations of entities. For an example, let me return to the detection dogs and enrolled in networks of wildlife science. The assembling and stabilising of these animals into networks with humans, technology and machinery, scientific thought published in papers and books, performs particular spatial configurations. Dog-training facilities are constructed and dogs and trainers are circulated through them. Scientists dot the landscape with devices intended to register the presence of carnivores. 12 Scientific facilities are built. These spaces have been produced by, as Massey says, the “the unimaginably cosmic [and] the intimately tiny”. The rainforest and the DNA in bear scat. The spaces of wildlife science are both the consequence of and are constructed by networked relations. Many geographers have subsequently explored this connection between relations/networks and spaces. For instance, geographers have drawn on ANT to ask how ostensibly discrete spaces become relationally linked together. In his work on the history of geographic thought, Trevor Barnes has variously shown how textbooks (2002), charts (2006) and computers (2004) have, in concert with various other entities, moved from place to place creating linkages and forging spaces with their movements. These material objects and places are instrumental to the production of geographic knowledge. They make a difference to what kind of knowledge is produced. In his work, Barnes traces the spatial configurations that corresponded to historical network configurations designed to produce geographical knowledge. Sites within the networks became linked together by the travels of people and objects, and this movement reconfigured spaces. For example, the geographic texts, maps, and information generated by networks of quantitative geographers during the Second World War “shaped, directed and contorted the war, made it into something different than it would have been otherwise” (Barnes 2006, 162). Similarly, in his book, Spatial formations, Nigel Thrift (1996)  12  I return to the practices of wildlife science with respect to cougars in Chapter 5.  45  shows how networked relations have corresponding spatial compositions.13 Thrift!s emphasis is on the embodied, everyday encounters, processes and flows that create effects and spaces. From monetary exchanges to machine technologies, Thrift!s everyday relations are performative and constitutive of space. 14 Several geographers have drawn on ANT to illustrate the impossibility of pure, sealed spaces, and what implications this has for politics and action. Many have done so in the context of the production of “nature”. In Geographies of nature, Steve Hinchliffe (2007, 6, 7-22) explores the spatial practices of conservation, raising the question that, if spaces are porous in this manner, might it be that the only “spaces for nature” that exist are “in our imperial imagination”? Proceeding from an “ontological politics” wherein nature and culture cannot be separated as such, where things are related rather than disconnected, Hinchliffe reiterates the now well-worn argument that there are no pre-existing “cultural” spaces separate from “natural” spaces and vice versa. Rather, “culturenature” networks of circulating entities make “culturenature” spaces. Murdoch (2006) also explores nature and what he calls the “dis/ordering” of space. He focuses on what he identifies as the twentieth-century!s preoccupation with a “politics of spatial division” whereby attempts are made to divide “nature” and “society”, in manners that echo a similar spatial classification between “urban” and “rural”. He suggests that political actors continue to believe they can solve socio-ecological problems through spatial separation, and then shows why this solution does not work and may exacerbate socio-ecological problems. There are always relations lying beneath any forms of spatial division, Murdoch argues. Not only are the relations usually transgressive but also they are often strengthened by the imposition of classificatory regimes (Latour 1993). Interaction between spatial division and spatial relations will always generate new hybridised spatial forms, an idea that will be taken up in the following chapter on cougars and the production of space. Sarah Whatmore!s (2002) Hybrid geographies argues similarly. Whatmore takes the “species and spaces of a pristine nature” (9) from the margins of the social world and places them squarely into the multiple networks of human social life. She traces orderings of “wild” 13  It is worth noting that while I have listed Thrift as a geographer influenced by ANT, half of Spatial formations was written before ANT became a force within the social sciences. Indeed, Barnes (1998, 311) notes in a review of Spatial formations that the second chapter of the book, “On flies and germs” “has always suffered from having been written before its time, never garnering the attention it deserved. It is Bruno Latour's now fashionable harangue about `immutable mobiles' but written before Latour, and displaying a critical geographical sensibility sorely absent in Latour's work.” 14 Non-geographers have also done wonderful work on the spatial configurations that result from particular network configurations. Mitchell (2002) and Tsing (2002) are particularly shining examples.  46  animals in schemes such as endangered species inventories and databases for captive breeding programs. Through these tracings, Whatmore (2002, 11) “disrupts the linear historical narratives of "civilisation! and "evolution! which consign wildlife to marginal spaces that share a teleological destiny of erasure” and demonstrates the deeply political and contested means by which the always already inhabited spaces of “the wild” are reordered by “expert” networks of science, commerce and governance (34). As the following chapter will demonstrate, attempts to reorder “cougar” space and “human” space and to consign cougars to marginal, distant spaces are continually upset by cougars as they circulate across perceived spatial boundaries. These examples illustrate the varied purposes to which geographers have put ANT. While the geographic work briefly reviewed here is united by an interest in how networks make spaces, the networks and spaces in question are diverse. Actor Network theory has done one thing very well, say Bingham and Thrift (2000, 299). “It has opened up spaces which have been closed down. By following circulations, it has produced a sense of a world of partial connection in which all kinds of constantly shifting spaces can co-exist, overlap and hybridise, move together, move apart.” In this thesis, like Whatmore (2002) and Hinchliffe (2007), I am interested spaces “where species meet and mingle” (Davies and Lorimer 2008). I am interested in the composition of the networks that produce these spaces, how not all of the entities in the networks are humans. In particular, I am interested in exploring the kinds of spaces that are opened up by networks that emerge around cougar-human interaction on Vancouver Island. Overlapping circulations of cougars and humans produce particular spaces, and animals are drawn into the spatial practices that produce these spaces. I work my interests through a case study of cougar-human entanglements in a small town on southern Vancouver Island called Sooke. In this place, cougars and humans meet and mingle more frequently than perhaps either species would like. In the following chapter, I examine the networks Sooke residents attempt to assemble in order to produce particular spaces, and I also ask what spaces are actually produced by meetings and minglings of humans and cougars. To do so, I draw on the spatial thinking outlined in this section. Primarily, I take the idea from ANT that network formations have corresponding spatial formations, that when networks form spatial relations are brought into being. How is space enacted in Sooke? What entities play key roles in producing space, and how they do this? I emphasise, using ANT, that the movements of entities generate spaces. How are cougars! movements spatially productive? Finally, I draw on the idea from geographic thinking on relational space that everyday, embodied encounters and flows produce space, and that this making of space is a consensual and contested process, as Massey says. 47  Chapter 4. Biosecuring Sooke!s backyards We know cougars do view people as prey… There is a history of cougars attacking and consuming people. It's a small but everpresent risk, and it happens more on Vancouver Island than any other place in North America (Hansen 2004) Highway 14 is the lone road connecting Sooke to the wider world – first to its larger neighbour, Colwood, 25 kilometres or so to the east, and another 20 kilometres further, to Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia (BC). Highway is a misleading designation for this narrow, winding road, save for the two kilometres over which it cuts a four-lane swath into the forest, a section known unimaginatively by locals as “the four lanes”. People who have lived in Sooke for most of their lives remember a time when only one or two families had fathers who travelled Highway 14 daily. Now thousands of workers embark on five-day-a-week commutes in cars, trucks, and buses, even the occasional plucky commuter on a bicycle. In the summer months, the road becomes a parade of dawdling vehicles. Cranky commuters tailgate holidaying Victorians and visitors who – enticed west by the promises of beaches, rivers, and hiking – crawl around corners and gaze unhurriedly out their windshields at bald eagles, sparkling ocean and sky blue mountains. These day-trippers are more likely to stop at the Sooke Museum than the locals. Exiting off the highway just before Sooke, visitors possibly park, stretch, pull open the museum!s wide wooden doors, and step into a small, airy office that smells like dry cedar and postcards. The intrepid visitor who pushes past the first room into the second might be startled by a massive, tawny creature gazing down fiercely from its seven foot high tree branch perch, teeth bared: Puma concolor vancouverensis.  48  Figure 4.1  “Prime male cougar” displayed at the Sooke Museum  Source: Photograph by the author  Bill, an Island cougar hunter, shot this 240-pound “prime male cougar” in Sooke in the early 1970s (SRM ND). “He was a monster, that one. One of the biggest I!d ever seen,” says Bill (2009), who started hunting cougars for bounty in the 1950s as a young teenager in Sooke. In his time as a recreational hunter, a bounty hunter, a government-employed predator control hunter, a contract hunter for the Conservation Officer Service, and a licensed guide outfitter, Bill has killed over three hundred cougars (Bill 2009). But as I sit with him on stools in the cluttered garage of his oceanfront home, patting one of his dogs – a drooling labradoodle – on the back, he tells me that he does not kill cougars anymore. “If they!re in someone!s yard I!ll take the dogs over and chase "em or tree "em but I wont take "em down. I!ll just pick up a stick and wail on "em” (Bill 2009). There is tone of resignation to Bill!s voice when he talks about his history of bloody entanglements with cougars. A lifetime of guarding the imagined boundary between human and nonhuman, civilised and wild, has left him ambivalent.  49  This chapter explores how such boundaries between cougars and humans are materially made, maintained and unmade in Sooke. I trace how human and nonhuman bodies inflect and are enrolled in boundary making practices and processes, asking specifically what the role of cougars has been in the material and discursive production of spaces and their imagined security and boundedness. Discussion and arguments are informed foremost by stories of cougar-human encounters in Sooke, retold based on newspaper and archival research and multiple unstructured interviews with Sooke residents, and also by academic work on space and boundaries by Actor Network theorists, feminist science studies scholars, and post-human geographers, material reviewed and summarised in Chapter 3. The goal of this chapter is to demonstrate the more than human production of space, to show how nonhumans matter to the material-semiotic construction of spaces and their perceived boundaries. I begin by introducing Sooke and the region!s history of cougar-human relationships, generalised empirically into two categories: humans attacking cougars and cougars attacking humans. I expand upon three notions – backyards, boundaries and biosecurity – central to understanding how Sooke!s spaces have been produced and experienced. Finally, pulling from Conservation Officer Service (COS) data and interview transcripts, I analyse how spaces are materially made and maintained, and how cougars upset the making and maintaining of (un)safe spaces. In other words, I examine attempts to discipline cougars! bodies, and also how cougars! bodies and behaviours have resisted and shaped spatial configurations and boundaries. My empirical research supports recent theoretical arguments by geographers and Actor Network theorists regarding space (summarised in the last chapter), namely, that space is produced within network formations. Rather than a container for entities and actions, I find that backyard space is continually made and remade by heterogeneous relations, of which cougars are key components. I conclude this chapter by asking how recent work on relational space might help to make sense of, to untangle, cougar-human entanglements in Sooke.  A brief history of cougar-human entanglements in Sooke One late Vancouver Island afternoon in the mid-1800s, Mary Vine, BC!s first officially recognised midwife, encountered a cougar. Born in England, she had journeyed across the Atlantic and the North American continent to arrive in Metchosin, where she and her husband cleared land, raised livestock and grew food. Mrs. Vine was frequently called upon to attend to maternity cases in Sooke, a town that was linked to her home in Metchosin by a 32-kilometer 50  trail limning the southern Island!s rocky coast. Renowned for her fearlessness and independence, Mrs. Vine regularly walked this path, despite the perilous presence of “wild beasts, for not only wolves were plentiful, but bears and panthers roamed about, as well as Indians [sic]” (McVicker 1930, 235). This particular afternoon, Mrs. Vine was returning from Sooke when she came upon a cougar that had just killed and was crouched above one of the Vine!s sheep. Bent low over its kill, the cougar fixed its eyes upon Mrs. Vine, bared its teeth, and disputed the way with a “menacing growl” (McVicker 1930, 235). Undeterred, Mrs. Vine reached into the folds of her long skirt for her habitually-carried knife, and set her own eyes upon the cougar!s, advancing slowly towards it, knife in one hand and skirt held high in the other. The cougar hesitated but then disappeared into the trees, abandoning the still-warm sheep, which Mary Vine skinned, quartered and carried the rest of the journey home (McVicker 1930). Mary Vine!s is a fairly typical “settler” story: the brave and resourceful English woman triumphing over a representative of the untamed wilderness that she and others had arrived to tame and transform into civilised landscapes with farms, house and churches. Alfred Crosby (1986) has termed this landscape change “ecological imperialism”, arguing that European expansion into, and conquest of, “new” colonies was as much a biological process as a political one. Killing cougars was an instrumental part of this biological conquest on Vancouver Island. Soon after Mary Vine!s encounter with the cougar, a government bounty system was implemented as a financial award for settlers like Mary and for the province!s many cougar hunters in efforts to rid the Island of cougars. Bounty laws were often the first pieces of legislation to be passed in new colonies (Loo 2006), and many cougar hunters occupied a prominent position in recently settled communities, where they became a sort of “bush gentry” (Mackie 1999). 1 Not only European settlers took advantage of the extra income afforded by hunting, however. Sooke!s Mazie Tuttle, granddaughter of Chief Louis Lazzar of the T! Sou-ke People, was considered a “crack shot” when it came to hunting cougars (SRM 1999) (Figure 4.2).  1  Please see Chapter 2 for graphs related to the cougar bounty on Vancouver Island and BC and for a discussion of the logic by which it was underpinned.  51  Figure 4.2  17 year old Mazie Tuttle of Sooke, holding a cougar she shot, 1930  Source: Photograph from the Sooke Region Museum  The T! Sou-ke people, part of the Salish First Nation, occupied the Sooke region for thousands of years with a population that once numbered in the thousands (SRM 1999). Located as it was on the Island!s temperate and dry southern tip, curled around a sheltered ocean inlet – a “magnificent piece of water” (WEB 1858) – at the mouth of a salmon-spawning river, now called the Sooke River, the Sooke region provided a “wealth of abundant resources” for the T! Sou-kes (SRM 1999, 13). The same ecological qualities, coupled with a promise of upriver gold that “threw European settlers into a feverish state of excitement” (British Colonist 1864), drew handfuls of Europeans to the region in the mid-1800s. In 1854, James Douglas!s compiled census of Vancouver Island lists “Soke” as having a population of seventeen settlers – thirteen men and four women (Douglas 1855). The first parcelled lots went officially on sale in Sooke in 1864 (SRM 1999), although the town only grew by increments until after the First World War, at which point the village had a population of only 270 residents (SRM 1999). By the mid-1930s, forestry and salmon resources attracted new residents and the population reached 600 (SRM 1999). In the post-war years, Sooke!s population boomed and by 1956, almost one 52  thousand residents were registered as voters (Esquimalt Electoral Area 1956). Anecdotal evidence suggests that the frequency of cougar encounters in Sooke increased along with the town!s population. Parents began walking their children to school and some predator controllers were killing up to five cougars per week (SRM 1999). Around this time the settlement consisted of a cluster of farms, a school, a community hall, and a general store (Figure 4.3).  Figure 4.3  Aerial photograph of Sooke, looking north-east towards the Sooke Hills, c. 1958  Source: BC Archives E-03893  The town grew steadily through the latter part of the twentieth century, over which time a population who worked primarily in the service industry and for the most part commuted to Victoria slowly replaced the historical resident population that depended on logging and fishing. The 1970s were a time, as The Sooke story: the history and the heartbeat, claims, of the transition “from resources to commerce and commuters” (SRM 1999, 345). The population over this time “skyrocketed” (SRM 1999, 354). By the late seventies, approximately 6,000 people resided in Sooke. This number would double in the next twenty years. These economic and demographic shifts would have, as we shall see, profound implications for regional ecologies and animal populations. Official records of Sooke!s late-twentieth century population do not exist 53  prior to incorporation in 1999, but based on data collected since that time, the 2006 census established that Sooke, with a population 9,704, is one of the fastest growing municipalities in the province (BC Stats 2007). Such growth is exemplified by burgeoning new subdivisions pushing outwards into forested lands (Figure 4.4).  Figure 4.4  Sooke!s new northern fringe spreading into the Sooke Hills, prime cougar habitat  Source: Aerial photograph by author, 2008  Like many other regions with high levels of cougar-human conflict, such as California (Davis 1998; Gullo et al. 1998) or Colorado (Baron 2004), the areas into which Sooke is developing were previously undeveloped and home to diverse wildlife populations, including cougars. Cougar encounters have therefore unsurprisingly continued apace with Sooke!s swelling human population and its expansion into cougar habitat. Sooke residents are becoming more entangled with cougars each year and most people in Sooke have at least one cougar story. But the growing frequency of encounters has not lessened their novelty. Everyone with whom I spoke about meeting cougars – even those for whom such meetings are commonplace – spoke  54  dramatically and animatedly about their experiences. All reported a change in how they perceived and negotiated their environment following the encounter. Well over a century after Mary Vine!s cougar-human-sheep entanglement, another multispecies encounter occurred, coincidentally along the banks of Mary Vine Creek, a small, relatively remote waterway in Sooke. Ted and Louise, Sooke residents, were hiking on an overcast day in the late fall of 2008 with two friends and their border collie, Max. Around noon, Max began to act strangely, tucking his tail between his legs and lagging behind the human hikers, hesitant to continue. The group became acutely conscious of a sharp urine smell that pervaded the bush. The last person in line, Ted, noticed the cougar first. While the rest of the hiking party had walked within feet of the cougar without registering its presence, Ted happened to glance sideward and spotted a large, tawny cat, standing ostensibly unperturbed not ten feet away. After calling to the rest of the group, Ted!s initial excitement turned to unease when the cougar showed no sign of fear, and then to panic when the cougar looked directly into his eyes and began walking towards him. Vaguely recalling a wilderness tip from his youth – do not look a cougar in the eyes – Ted tried desperately to avert his gaze.2 He confided to me later in the safety of the Sooke Museum the thought that dominated his mind as the cougar came closer: “this can!t be good.” Face-to-face with the cougar, frozen to the spot, Ted looked deep into its “cold and murderous” eyes, and the “steroid cat” looked right back. “The cougar stared straight at me and I at him and I thought: this is an evil man… It was like looking into the eyes of evil... [Like] staring into the eyes of death” (Ted 2008). The cougar took several steps towards Ted before he shook himself out of his trance and raised his walking stick above his head, shouting incoherently. No longer moving forward but still impassive, the cougars! eyes did not leave Ted!s. Then it vanished instantaneously, and Ted and Louise both recall that they did not even have a chance to see in what direction. Ted and Louise did not emerge from their encounter unchanged. “We!ll never be the same,” says Louise. “When we hike now, we look at everything.” Peter Pauwels (2009), an Island Conservation Officer, later told me, along with a crowded room of anxious Victorians who have come to the University of Victoria for an evening seminar on “cougar awareness”, that the cougar who frightened Ed by meeting his gaze was likely just curious. When cougars are really stalking you, he says, you do not even know they are there; they do not allow themselves to be seen. This present-absence and absent-presence that cougars embody, coupled with their size, strength and predatory power, make them 2  Incidentally, it is now more widely accepted that in the event of a cougar encounter, one should stare directly into the cougar!s eyes and face.  55  compelling creatures. Ted (2008) and Louise!s (2008) harrowed reaction to their cougar run-in is common. Cougars are animals that are usually too close for comfort. They are “companion species” (Haraway 2003), but preferably – for both species – with some distance. The look exchanged between Ted and the cougar is rare and fleeting, but is, I am led to believe by those who have experienced it, not easy to forget. The look is described to me as a glimpse into a radically different form of existence (Lauren 2009). It is a visceral experience that you feel deep in the pit of your stomach (Ed 2008). A cougar!s gaze gets into your guts. There is much at stake here. In this look lies the power of cougars, their ability to surprise, to have secrets (Berger 2007 [1980]), and to “oblige [the human] to recognise, at the moment of address, that this [is] their affair, their lookout” (Derrida 2008, 14). The animals! gaze has what Haraway (2008, 46) calls “encounter value”: the “face-to-face meeting of living, meaning-generating beings across species” (63). These are “encounters with sensual excess” (Lippit 2000, 180); they are corporeal, embodied, material-semiotic encounters, with “the power to terrorize and to reach into the core of all the partners” (Haraway 2008, 63). In their absolute alterity, cougars do not allow us to look at them “and see only the reflection of ourselves” (Kalof 2007, 140). While we may not see our own reflection in a cougar!s eyes we might instead see ourselves as food. Arguably the most threatening aspect of cougars for humans historically and contemporarily is the fact that cougars have killed and eaten humans. Eye contact with “great and terrible flesh-eating beasts”, as David Quammen (2003, 3) suggests, is one of the earliest forms of human self-awareness: the awareness of becoming meat. Encountering a cougar is an encounter with one!s own fleshiness. The position of flesh-eater is a powerful one. As Derrida (in Lippit 2000, 182) writes, it is “the subject… [who] eats flesh.” To be looked upon by the subject – cougar – as an object – meat – is a humbling experience (Ted 2008; Louise 2008), a reminder that “we are potential carcasses” (Bacon in Lippit, 179). The cougar!s carnivorous look inverts “the power of the one who eats [over] the one who is eaten” (Shukin 2009, 74). As Wildlife Control Officer Gerry Brunham (2001) says, “they [cougars] can live among us and be no problem. But they eat meat – and we are meat” [emphasis added]. The fact that humans can be meat to cougars has brought about particular forms of entanglement on Vancouver Island, which I will discuss shortly. Cougars loom large in the human imagination in places like Sooke. As elementary school children we were regularly called off the playground for “inside lunches” because of a cougar loitering nearby. Most Vancouver Island towns are accustomed to similar precautions.  56  There are reasons to be cautious: Vancouver Island has had more cougar attacks than anywhere else in North America. Kathy Etling (2004, 69, whose somewhat sensationalised book, Cougar attack!, chronicles cougar attacks in North America over the last century, states dramatically that the “very name [Vancouver Island] can send shivers up the spine of anyone acquainted with this quaint little island!s ominous history of cougar attacks”. Many people have speculated about why there have been so many cougar attacks on Vancouver Island. Wildlife scientists and officials suggest that vancouverensis are more vicious because of territorial competition (Lay in Etling 2004), a limited number of small prey species (Beier 1991), and because on the remote areas of the Island, cougars have less experience with humans as predators (Etling 2004). Between 1900 and 2008, of the 179 recorded non-fatal North American cougar attacks, forty-three have occurred on Vancouver Island, just under one quarter of all attacks (Graph 4.1).  Graph 4.1  Non-fatal cougar attacks in North America, 1900-2008  Data sources: Beier, P. 1991. Cougar attacks on humans in the US and Canada. Wildlife Society Bulletin 19: 403-412; Etling, K. 2004. Cougar attacks: encounters of the worst kind. Guilford: The Lyons Press; Chester, T. 2006. Mountain Lion attacks on people in the US and Canada. Available at: http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html; Lewis, L. 2009. List of confirmed cougar attacks in the US and Canada, 1991-2008. Available at: http://users.frii.com/mytymyk/lions/attacks3.htm.  57  The pattern of fatal attacks largely mimics that of non-fatal attacks, with six of twenty-three recorded fatal North American cougar attacks having taken place on the Island, just over one quarter of all fatal attacks.  Graph 4.2  Fatal cougar attacks in North America, 1900-2008  Data sources: Beier, P. 1991. Cougar attacks on humans in the US and Canada. Wildlife Society Bulletin 19: 403-412; Etling, K. 2004. Cougar attacks: encounters of the worst kind. Guilford: The Lyons Press; Chester, T. 2006. Mountain Lion attacks on people in the US and Canada. Available at: http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html; Lewis, L. 2009. List of confirmed cougar attacks in the US and Canada, 1991-2008. Available at: http://users.frii.com/mytymyk/lions/attacks3.htm.  Fatal and non-fatal cougar attacks in North America are steadily on the rise, and Vancouver Island is no exception (Graph 4.3).  58  Graph 4.3  Fatal and non-fatal cougar attacks on Vancouver Island, 1900-2008  Data sources: Beier, P. 1991. Cougar attacks on humans in the US and Canada. Wildlife Society Bulletin 19: 403-412; Etling, K. 2004. Cougar attacks: encounters of the worst kind. Guilford: The Lyons Press; Chester, T. 2006. Mountain Lion attacks on people in the US and Canada. Available at: http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html; Lewis, L. 2009. List of confirmed cougar attacks in the US and Canada, 1991-2008. Available at: http://users.frii.com/mytymyk/lions/attacks3.htm.  There has only been one serious recorded cougar attack in Sooke, though. It occurred when I was a toddler growing up in Sooke, but it reverberates through the community to this day. On an early August evening in 1985, Alyson Parker, a ten-year-old girl, was walking with two other girls along a trail within Camp Thunderbird, a YM/YWCA camp on Glintz Lake, in the east part of Sooke. They had stopped for a rest on some rocks when one girl jumped to her feet and screamed “wild cat!” (Sooke News Mirror 1985). Alyson glanced over her shoulder and saw a cougar a foot away from her face. She tried to run but it knocked her to the ground and bit at her head and the back of her neck. The girls! camp counsellor, Lila Lifely, heard their cries from the campsite, where she was making dinner, but by the time she arrived to the scene, the cougar had already pounced on Alyson and was dragging her into the bushes. Lila told journalists later that her primary thought was: “I!ve got to get that cat off her” (Lifely 1985a). Grabbing a nearby quarter-cut of a log, Lifely charged at the cougar, beating it over the head. 59  The cougar dropped Alyson and backed away a meter, gazing at Lila unafraid, as if to say, Lila thought, “get away from me. This is mine” (Lifely 1985b). It then leaped onto Alyson again. Lila found a tree branch and set on the cougar a second time, striking at its head and face. The cougar again retreated and Lila attempted to run back to the campsite for her first aid tent to attend to Alyson, who was lying on the ground, bleeding heavily from her head and neck. As soon as Lila turned her back, the cougar attacked Alyson a third time, dragging her farther towards the bushes. Again, Lila swung the branch at the cougar!s head, and again the cougar retreated, this time a few meters further, where it stopped in the bushes, hidden, and watched the group. Other camp officials arrived and Lila climbed a tree so that she could observe the cougar. When it made a move, she would alert the camp director and he would bang a shovel on the ground to ward it off. Thirty minutes later the cougar continued to hang around the camp despite crowds of adults making loud noises in attempts to scare the animal. Four hours after the attack, Alyson was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated doe skull punctures, scalp lacerations, and fifteen puncture wounds to the neck (Etling 2004). A camp official called Bill, employed as a government-employed Predator Controller at the time. He arrived with his pack of hound dogs and together they hiked north from the Camp Thunderbird headquarters to the site of the attack. Bill (2009) recalls what happened: Around the area there was a lot of scent there and the dogs wanted to go back down the road [south] to camp [headquarters] and of course I thought I knew more than them and kept persisting that we stay up there figuring that [the cougar] would head out [north towards the hills] but in fact I found out the next day that it had actually followed those kids down the road. The kids were in a vehicle and it actually followed the vehicle down the road back to the camp and then when [the cougar] left that night he went down [south] towards the highway [Sooke road]. The next day Bill received a phone call when a cougar was stopping traffic on Sooke road and then approaching vehicles to peer inside car windows. From there, the cougar made its way into a couple!s backyard and killed a deer. “It was eating the deer”, says Bill (2009), when [the couple] got up in the morning and their little dog was barking and they seen [sic] the cougar eating the deer in their backyard and so they phoned me. We went over there and shot the cougar – that was the break we were looking for. I took the cougar up to the girl [Parker] and I have to give her credit; she wasn!t scared at all. It was sort of a very plain coloured cat. Most have a white or grey distinctive in the face but this one was a grey cat. She said that was the one. She remembered. 60  In an interview with the Times Colonist ten years later, 19-year-old Alyson still remembered “the cougar!s foul breath and the sound of her skull cracking” (Litwin 1993). The plain coloured cougar who attacked Alyson and was shot by Bill in a Sooke backyard was an 80 pound male. The couple in whose backyard the cougar had been killed later discovered that one of their geese had also fallen prey to the tom. Alyson Parker remains the only human being on record to be seriously attacked by a cougar in Sooke. The same cannot be said about pets and livestock, the primary targets of cougars who are either hungry or teaching cubs to hunt. A month ago, as I was writing this chapter, twelve sheep were killed in one night by a mother cougar and her two cubs. That is nothing, Bill (2009) tells me. “If they happen to raise their young ones close to civilisations where there!s livestock they!ll take them in there and show them how to kill. I!ve seen 45 goats all killed in one night. That was one female with one kitten. As much as they want anytime they want. Teach the cubs over and over and over until they!ve got it down-pat”. That is, unless the cougars are caught. The day after the she-cat and her two cubs had been honing their predatory skills on Sooke sheep, a Conservation Officer and his dogs killed the whole vancouverensis family. Relocation of cougars, the only other option entertained by the COS in the event of a cougar threatening pets or livestock, is rare and arguably ineffective, as research suggests that the cougar generally returns to the original site of conflict or starves to death in the region to which it has been relocated, a region already territorialized by other cougars (Bill 2009; Pauwels 2009). How are we to understand these processes of killing and relocating cougars? Where do most of these processes occur? With what purpose? What kinds of spaces are these processes designed to bring about and how?  Boundary making, backyards and biosecurity In the process of trying to understand cougar-human entanglements with respect to the production of space in Sooke, I asked myself three questions. First, where do the majority of cougar-human entanglements occur in Sooke and what kinds of spaces do they produce? Second, why are particular spatial practices enacted with respect to cougar-human entanglements? Third, how are particular spaces brought into being, that is, through what spatial practices? The answers to these questions – where, why and how – while perhaps not particularly surprising, help to ground thinking about the production of space. Regarding the  where, I found that almost all cougar-human entanglements that result in the exertion of spatial practices occur in Sooke backyards. I use the term backyard rather loosely to refer to the area 61  outside of the home but which is still considered an extension of domestic space. This is elaborated upon below. With respect to the why, I found that spatial practices resulting from cougar-human entanglements in Sooke backyards are motivated by a desire for biosecurity. I also use the term biosecurity in a loose way to refer to “safe life”. Spatial practices in Sooke backyards are motivated by a desire to make (particular forms of) life safe. Finally, concerning  how spatial practices are enacted, I found that this largely occurs through boundary making, that is, through attempts to bound spaces and exclude some entities from these spaces while including others. Backyards are thus spaces where entities come together, where relational conflicts emerge and consensual relations are consolidated (Massey 2005). The production of space through these boundary making practices is an ongoing process that occurs within diverse networks of entities. To summarise, I found that cougar-human entanglements in Sooke backyards bring about boundary making practices that are designed to biosecure backyard spaces. In what follows, I expand upon each of the concepts within this trinity. Boundaries, biosecurity and backyards are familiar words that have, by and large, commonly agreed upon, broadly understood, meanings. In this chapter, however, I am interested in developing and building upon specific ways of thinking about boundary making, biosecurity and backyards, ways that resonate with and help explain everyday ways of being (and becoming) human and cougar in Sooke. In other words, I apply particular meanings of boundary making, biosecurity and backyards that are relevant to cougar-human entanglements in Sooke. In each instance, I briefly review the more conventional understanding of the term before focusing on the more specific understanding employed in the chapter. My objective in elucidating what I mean by backyards, biosecurity and boundary making is to enable a concrete and specific way of thinking about the production of space in Sooke, and about how nonhumans are inextricably bound up in the practices that (seek to) make spaces safe, domestic and bounded. I begin with boundary making. Boundaries demarcate space. They are material or conceptual lines that attempt to divide spaces and separate groups of entities (Agnew 2000). In geography, most theorists studying boundaries look at political borders, including boundaries dividing nations (van Houten et al. 2005a), or less often, intra-national political boundaries (Barnes 2005). Despite the varied nature of the boundary under study, most of these geographers focus on the imagined, semiotic and discursive production and maintenance of boundaries, suggesting, for instance, that a boundary “is not so much an object or a material artefact as a belief, an imagination that creates and shapes a world, a social reality” (van Houten et al. 2005b, 3). Under this conception of 62  boundaries, humans are generally the sole actors and subjects in boundary making and enforcement. Such an approach to understanding and talking about boundaries has recently come under criticism by geographers who have become interested in the multiple ways that nonhuman actors are enrolled in boundary making. These have observed a tendency in geography to discount how nonhumans figure in the configuring of space and place and the geopolitics of these configuring processes theorists (Fall 2005; Power 2009; Sundberg 2009). Drawing on theorising in ANT and other posthumanist literature, these theorists argue that humans are not the only entities enrolled in and subject to boundary making practices. For example, in her research in the US-Mexico borderlands along southern Texas and Arizona, Juanita Sundberg (2009, 2) has found that “deserts, rivers, Tamaulipan thornscrub, and cats inflect, disrupt and obstruct the daily practices of boundary-enforcement… [suggesting] that nonhumans actors are integral to understanding ongoing struggles over the configuration of boundary-enforcement in the borderlands.” Boundaries are enactments of imagination, but they are simultaneously material enactments and the matter matters. That is, boundaries have to take place somewhere, in some specific place, and the material dimensions and inhabitants of this place – landscapes, animals, plants – shape how the boundary is made and enforced. Sundberg (Draft MS, 39) writes that “boundary enforcement… is an embodied, material process requiring strategic arrangements of humans and nonhumans. Such arrangements must be continuously brought into being and performed through daily discursive and material processes”. In ANT-like terminology, the making and maintaining of boundaries occurs in multiple, materialsemiotic ways, through and within networks of human and nonhuman entities. In this chapter I follow such an ANT-inspired understanding of boundary making. Because boundary making is the primary spatial practice used to attempt to manipulate cougarhuman entanglements, I ask how these boundaries are brought into being and enforced, and within what networks of entities. The boundary in which I am interested is the one that is intended to separate humans from cougars. This is by no means a strictly drawn and defined boundary. However, as I discuss shortly, the spaces within which cougar-human conflicts most often occur – backyards – are perceived as cougar-free spaces. They are conceived as domestic spaces, albeit a little wilder than the interior of homes. The boundaries I explore here are therefore embedded to a significant extent in a larger uneasy, perceived divide between domestic and wild, nature and culture. I argue, however, that material, everyday boundary making practices, such as installing fencing or companion-animal guards, produce spaces that do not neatly fit into domestic or wild, natural or cultural categories. One of the primary 63  questions I therefore ask is how cougars – their physical presences/absences and unique characteristics – matter to the material creation and imagination of space in Sooke. As mentioned, I am particularly interested in backyard spaces, as they are the spaces within which humans and cougars most often encounter each other in Sooke. They are also the spaces most actively produced and managed by cougar-human boundary practices. I mobilise a particular conception of backyards in making this statement. Like Head and Muir (2006, 10), I understand backyards to mean a “physically enclosed, private domestic space”. In Sooke, these backyards are suburban-rural. They are hobby farms, small fields, orchards, and increasingly, lawns and gardens. To draw out conceptually the significance of backyard space, I make use of work on geographies of the home and the domestic produced by scholars over the last ten years. Previously considered an under-theorised space, the home is now the subject of geographical examination in books (Blunt and Dowling 2006), themed journal issues (see Briganti and Mezei 2002; Mezei 2003; Blunt and Varley 2004) and too many articles to list here. Some geographers have specifically begun asking how home spaces are constructed and imagined by and through more than human engagements with the world (Kaika 2004; Muller et al. 2009; Power 2007; 2009). As Gorman-Murray and Cox (2009) ask: “How are non-human presences – pets, plants, dirt, weather patterns, inter alia – implicated in material homemaking?”. I ask a similar question but with respect to a specific domestic space, one that has received little attention, even amidst the rise in geographical interest in the home: the backyard, particularly the suburban-rural backyard. Backyards are fascinating places. Despite their physical location outside of the home, they are in many ways perceived as an extension of the domestic space of the home (Head and Muir 2006), a place that offers, as Yi Fu Tuan (2004, 164) writes, “offers security, familiarity and nurture.” Consequently, backyards are associated, in a manner similar to but perhaps less pronounced than the indoor home, with feelings of safety, security and familiarity. At the same time, backyards are one of the places where people most frequently encounter other life forms (Robbins 2007). In a manner similar to but perhaps more pronounced than inside homes, backyards are what Tim Ingold (2008) would call “zones of entanglement”, places where multiple species knot together in dynamic and complex ways materiality, imaginatively, and institutionally, to produce the effect of a bounded space. For example, fences often mark off backyard space as physical manifestation of a legal proprietary arrangement. There is a strong sense in which backyards are therefore unruly, requiring constant surveillance for unwanted species of plant and animal because backyards are, like indoor domestic space, designed to be 64  ordered and tame. Backyards are therefore intensely managed landscapes, with extensive inputs of labour, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, seeds, plants, sod, and so on. 3 Backyards are thus places where, as Kay Anderson suggests, “people, perhaps unwittingly, make their more routine interventions in nature. By clearing ground and arranging space for 'gardens', they simultaneously create 'habitats' in which some species of bird and animal life thrive while others lose out” (Anderson 1995, 275). These “routine interventions” have diverse motivations: lawns are mowed for recreation; flower gardens are cultivated for olfactory or visual pleasure; vegetables are grown for food. And fences are built to mark backyard space, to keep some animals, such as pets, in, and other animals, such as pests, out. The interplay between the backyard as an outdoor, wild, chaotic space, and an indoor, tame, ordered space has led scholars to refer to backyard gardens as the “classic "hybrid! landscape” (Hed and Muir 2006, 508), or “the balancing point between human control, on the one hand, and wild nature on the other” (Francis and Hester 1990, 2). Hybrid must be understood in this context not as a mixture of one pure, pre-existing space of “human control” and another pure, pre-existing space of “wild nature”. Rather, the hybrid backyard space is one produced by multiple entities that take their form in their relation to one another. The backyard space is “an ephemeral and precarious outcome, whose achievement—both symbolically and materially—is constructed and negotiated through the interaction of different actors” (Hitchings 2003, 102). Stemming from this, no matter the vigilance, the backyard is never perfectly moulded into a desired condition. Attempts at bounding a domestic space rarely if ever succeed. As Russell Hitchings (2004, 170) notes, “things in the domestic are always less than fully domesticated.” Both homes and backyards are places “where we can certainly make ourselves at home, but where we are always in the presence of an array of intimate nonhuman strangers” (Hitchings 2004, 183). For example, try as they might, most Sooke residents are not able to keep out black-tailed deer, Odocoileus hemionus. As Sooke!s population expanded in the late 1900s, once-shy deer actually moved into residential areas (Sooke Region Museum 1999). Like most communities on Vancouver Island, logging enterprise once surrounded Sooke. Deer are attracted to the preponderance of low shrub plant species in clearcut areas, but as Sooke has transformed into a “post-industrial” economy (Reed 2003), many of these clearcut areas have been reforested or developed into real estate. Cougar population numbers are largely affected 3  With respect to lawns in particular, see Robbins (2007) for a wonderful examination of the significance of lawns in American culture and how and why the American lawn has become one of the largest and fastest growing landscapes in the country.  65  by the availability of prey species, and deer are their preferred prey (Sadoway 1986). Deer have moved out of the reforested areas and into Sooke!s expanding residential landscapes where they feed on lawns, flowers, and other appetizing foods. Cougars have followed (Dan 2008). Given their suburban-rural nature, backyards in Sooke are connected materially to outlying forests, which, although they are by no means purely “natural”, are nonetheless home to more cougars and deer than downtown Victoria, the largest city on the Island.4 We can therefore understand the production of backyard space as occurring within a shifting assemblage of humans, cougars, multiple other species, and institutions such as private property and economic and political forces. Hitchings (2004, 183) sees much to be gained from exploring and documenting “something of the volatile associations through which home life is organized”, namely that it “helps develop a social-science narrative that places people more humbly and rightly in a world of relations that we might never fully control” (183). In Sooke backyard entanglements, however, one of the creatures entangled and never fully controlled is a 200-pound predator that can run 55 kilometres per hour. The backyard!s associations with safety and security are upset by cougars! movements and uninvited incursions. This raises a unique set of concerns and questions, leading me to the last concept I would like to bring into the discussion, the why of spatial production: biosecurity. If the home, backyard, and domestic are often perceived as spaces where humans are in charge (Hitchings 2004), associated with safety and security, and constructed as spaces intended to provide these qualities of life, then various everyday practices, such as fencebuilding, gardening, and lawn-mowing, are constantly enacted to try to bring these spaces and qualities into being. Such practices, says Hitchings (2004), are similar to the practices of science, and can therefore be explored using ideas from science studies introduced in Chapter 3. That is, practices that attempt to bring domestic spaces into being occur within shifting assemblages of human and nonhuman entities. Michel Foucault!s ([1976] 1998) notion of biopower – literally having control over other bodies – is called to mind here, as he states that mechanisms of control, discipline and security are brought about within diverse networks and by diverse techniques. They are multiply enacted. Recently, scholars have been building upon Foucault!s biopower to think through a more contemporary term: biosecurity.5 For my purposes, 4  Even in Victoria, a largely urban space, wildlife are of course permanent and occasional residents. In 1992, a cougar was trapped in the underground parking lot of the Empress Hotel, located in the heart of Victoria, and relocated to the Sooke hills (TNS 1992). 5 See in particular Hinchliffe and Bingham (2008) for a review of recent efforts to bring notions of biopower to bear on analyses of biosecurity.  66  biosecurity is a useful concept to employ in understanding and describing practices that seek to construct domestic spaces, as it is centrally concerned with making life safe. While much of my discussion is informed by a Foucaldian notion of disciplining bodies, my interest in this chapter is the spatial consequences of the networks assembled to exert biopower. Notions of space from Actor Network Theory and recent geographical work on relational space (reviewed in Chapter 3) are useful here for their emphasis on the correspondence between network formations and spatial formations. Essentially, Foucauldian networks of control have corresponding spatial formations, and ANT is useful for teasing them out. The networks of entities designed to discipline cougar bodies perform specific backyard spaces. As discussed in Chapter 4, when such networks stabilise, a spatial form is enacted. These spaces are porous and never complete. Spatial formations are constantly being re-enacted. In Sooke, these reenactions are often undertaken in efforts to biosecure backyards. Biosecurity discourse abounds in the early twenty-first century. It is a term that has become commonly used across the globe. But while something called “biosecurity” has risen to prominence in many locations over the last couple of decades, it has, as Bingham et al. (2008) point out, “not been exactly the same thing everywhere” (1531). It can, and often does, refer to the microbial – monitoring and controlling infectious diseases, for instance (Donaldson 2008), or preventing the deployment of microbiological agents in biological warfare (Cooper 2006) – but it can also refer to biota – for example, to containing invasive plant outbreaks (Barker 2008). Bingham et al. (2008) define it broadly as “attempts to monitor, regulate, and/or halt the movements of various forms of life” (1528). There is an emphasis within all biodiversity discourse on shaping or stemming lively flows in the interests of protecting other forms of life – usually human but sometimes nonhumans such as domesticated animals or native plants. Like efforts at domestication, though, efforts at biosecurity are never wholly successful or complete. Even the highest profile attempts to reduce the risk of contact with harmful bodies through isolation “turn out to be about the regulation and differential valorisation of flows and circulations rather than pure quarantine” (Bingham et al. 1528). For this reason I borrow “biosecuring” from Hinchliffe and Bingham, who prefer the verb because it attends to the always “unfinished business of making life safe” (1543), no matter what form of biosecuring is underway. As mentioned earlier, the forms biosecuirty measures take are diverse. Biosecurity means specific things in specific places. But while most biosecurity discourse revolves around controlling flows and circulations of the minute, the microscopic, or at least the very small, I follow Henry Buller (2008) in an effort to conceptualise biosecurity as it relates to the very large. 67  He has proposed, in the context of wolf reintroduction in the southern French Alps, that we explore a more traditional, visceral idea of what biosecurity means within human societies. Combining Bio – from the Greek, bios, or life – and safety – from the Latin, securus, or safe, free from danger, Buller (2008, 1583) suggests that biosecurity can mean, in some contexts, “not being eaten by big and ferocious wild animals.” This notion of biosecurity is applicable, he says, in cases where categories commonly agreed upon – wild and domestic, natural and artificial – are radically challenged by a large predator. In such cases, even the potential of threat is enough to precipitate extensive, expensive measures to “monitor, regulate and/or halt the movements” (Bingham et al. 2008, 1528) of predators. Exploring cougar-human interaction through the lens of biosecurity helps to understand why humans attempt to control cougars. More than anything, controlling cougars is a matter of biosecurity because of their powerful position in the human mind as human-eating predators – the “alpha predators” (Quammen 2003). “Cougar hysteria”, as Mike Davis (1998) calls it, must be seen in part as a result of their charisma, of centuries! worth of books, magazines, and art marketing what Quammen (2003, 4) calls “zoological melodrama” or “predator pornography”. Cougar stories often imply “monstrous” practices (Wilbert 2006) – like Ted!s encounter with a cougar!s “eyes of evil”. Of course, cougars do not exist only in the human mind. They are “real animals with big teeth and long claws” (Quammen 2003, 13). As Graphs 4.1 – 4.3 illustrate, cougars do pose a threat to human safety. They also, much more frequently, attack livestock and pets. As Hinchliffe and Bingham (2008, 1541) comment, “all kinds of things become more interesting once we stop assuming that "we' are the only place to begin and end our analysis”. It is this kind of change in thinking, this shift in where we begin and end our analysis, that allows us to see, for example, how killing cougars is boundary work. Vancouverensis are, like Buller!s wolves in the French Alps, fundamentally constitutive of both domestic and wild space, and they also, like Buller!s wolves destabilise these spatial categories, trespassing between wild and domestic worlds daily. And like Buller!s wolves, cougars! trespassing and their spatial proximity brings with them a “threat to human biosecurity”, one not only “derived from the renegotiation of their "wild' status” (Buller 2008, 1586) but also, perhaps more obviously, from their capacity to turn humans into meat, as discussed earlier. In a desire to biosecure domestic space, cougars are destroyed. Haraway (2008, 382) argues that “killing [animals] deserves deeper thinking”, especially the means by which “the meaningful body becomes mere flesh and so is made killable in the logic of sacrifice.” I argue that cougars, animals that most Sooke residents would like to keep alive, are “made killable” when they threaten human or domestic animal life, when 68  they lurk stealthily in the shadowy borderlands between wild and domestic and throw the split between these two worlds into question, and when they demonstrate not only the fragility and porosity of boundaries but also the vulnerability of human life. 6 Thus equipped with these rearticulated notions of boundaries, biosecurity and backyards, let us return to the matter at hand: how are Sooke!s backyard spaces produced, and by whom/what? Within what networks of entities do backyard spaces emerge? How do cougars affect these networks?  Producing (un)safe backyards Lauren and I are out for an early dinner so she can tell me about her multiple run-ins with  vancouverensis. She has lived on her family!s 200-acre property, nestled idyllically between the Sooke River and the forested Sooke hills, for her whole life – 46 years. She recalls not one cougar sighting for her first thirty years. When we were growing up, she says, “we knew [cougars] were around, probably somewhere on the property, but we didn!t ever see any. Maybe some signs sometimes, but never an actual cougar” (Lauren 2009). It was not until 1990 that cougars began to make themselves seen. The day after Lauren had hosted ten kids over for a sleepover, her dogs were barking incessantly and she knew “something was around”. Only when she found her dogs crowded around a tree beside her children!s playhouse did she realise that it was not one but two cougars, “an absolutely beautiful sight… Even when they!re treed, they still look at you like, I don!t care if I!m treed; I!ll still get away. [Then] we saw one jump from one tree to the other tree! It wasn!t going to hang around. We let them go. We just checked the tree [later] and they were gone” (Lauren 2009). Over the next few years, Lauren noticed more signs of cougars and one night, heard one scream. “That was a really different sound. I was on the sundeck and I came inside. It was a bit frightening. I don!t know if had just killed something? But I thought: wow I know what that is, [a cougar,] that!s what that is.” In late October 1997, Lauren was walking with her dog on the property and found a dead lamb and then two dead sheep in the fenced sheep pasture. Her first reaction was to think it was domestic dogs, the sheep!s “biggest problem”. But she did not see the usual marks from a domestic dog attack.  6  Interestingly, many of the domestic animals that cougars threaten are themselves made killable by their location in domestic space, their status as legal property of humans. Some excellent work has been done on processes that make domestic animals killable. See in particular Boyd (2003), on boiler chickens, Burt (2006) on slaughterhouse technologies, and Schrepfer and Scranton (2004) on evolutionary history of making meat.  69  I had my headphones on and I took them off… I saw bite marks on the [lamb!s] neck, which was unusual for a domestic dog [laughs]. Then I had this feeling like it!s too quiet? You don!t realise how much noise there is in the bush until it stops. And I thought: there!s actually no sound! Then all of a sudden my dog almost went sideways and made this yelping sound and goes flying out of the bush. You know, you sort of get that feeling you!re being watched; you hear that, but you really do get that. And there I am, standing in the middle of the bush, and I thought – I have this feeling – I am being watched. This is a cougar. This is a cougar kill. And it!s all making sense. You know how your mind takes a while to get up to speed , first thing in the morning [laughs]. Lauren fled back to her house, cognisant as she ran that there was “no way [she] could outrun a cougar”, called the RCMP and her neighbours, and made sure her kids and animals were safely secured inside. She took her daughter to hockey practice. By the time she returned, the RCMP had come. They had closed the Galloping Goose trail; they had flown all their doors open; and they were behind their doors with shotguns! Or whatever the big guns are that they have [laughs]. I!m thinking: is there a fugitive around here? [laughs]. Although I!m concerned about the kill, it!s also a fact of living on a piece of property that has a lot of bush. You know you share that land. And so I!m wondering: has something else happened? Behind the RCMP was Check 6 News, who had already made the trip from Victoria and tracked down the property, surprising Lauren, who comments with a laugh that she gives people directions to her house and they still cannot find it. “I don!t know”, she goes on, I!m not sure if it was a slow news day or what, but I guess it!s sort of exciting for people. So I got interviewed. Of course, I!m not wearing my interview clothes [laughs]. Next time I!m going to get my hair done [laughs]. It was interesting the reaction of the news crew: basically, are you afraid for your children!s lives? And I went, not really. I don!t want it to happen to my sheep, but on the other hand… But you must be afraid for them? [the news crew asked]. It was funny. I felt they were trying to make a story that I wasn!t giving them. Lauren admits: “Yes, it!s a cougar kill; it!s definitely a concern, but I wasn!t overly, you know… I was doing the precautions you normally do, like when there!s a cougar sighting at school and you take the kids inside, and you do all that, but you don!t overreact.” Then she noticed that the Check 6 cameraman was moving his camera along low to the ground, “like trying to simulate a cougar. I saw the piece later on the news, and I saw what he [the cameraman] had done with it and I!m like, okay, so I should always be careful about what I see on the news!” 70  Conservation Officers and a pack of hound dogs accompanied the RCMP and Check News to Lauren!s property. The first day they treed a cub and shot it, and they packaged up the dead sheep in plastic wrap for evidence. That night, “the mum came down, after her cub had been killed, unwrapped the sheep, and took it, almost to say: I!m not afraid. We found the plastic unwrapped and the carcasses of the sheep taken. It was really interesting that she would not be afraid… that she had not been scared away. She was, I dunno, showing who was boss?” When the COs returned the next day, they found the mother cougar “sunning herself” nearby and shot her. The body was sent to Ladysmith for necroscopic examination (Chung 1997). Like Ted and Louise, Lauren has not walked away from her cougar encounters unaltered. “People and wildlife, you know, it just changes you,” she says. “You have to respect that. And to be lucky enough to live in an area where that!s even a possibility.” Lauren lists several things that have changed in how she feels on her property and how her family inhabits their home space. She feels less safe and comfortable. Her family does not keep sheep anymore. She reflects that her encounters have changed how she moves around her backyard. I don!t feel as comfortable walking. I always knew that they [cougars] were there, but I guess I just had a little bit of bravado. I!m much more aware now. It did take away that safe feeling. It did make me, I guess, respect a bit more, about what!s out there; it brought an overall awareness of this is where we!re living: our house is in the middle of the trees, you know, backing onto a park; you!re probably going to encounter some wildlife. Her feelings are mixed about the how these encounters usually end, about cougars! deaths on her property. The whole risk, respect and fear at the same time, you have totally mixed feelings if they have to take it out [kill the cougar]. I said to the guy from Check [6 News]: they!re just doing what they!re bred to do; I!m not holding it against them. The cougar was just teaching its cubs how to hunt! I can understand that. I don!t really want them to kill my sheep, but on the other hand, I get it. I mean, why wouldn!t she come to a field with penned in animals to teach her cubs how to hunt? But the risk to her livestock, children, and others! livestock and children was too much, she says in a local newspaper article from the time (Chung 1997). “As there!s more land being taken [by humans], there!s more interaction, more sightings by humans.” There is a regretful tone to her voice when she talks about escalating human interaction with cougars and the cougar deaths that are usually the outcome of interactions. To this day, she is puzzled about the attention she 71  gets when such an interaction occurs on her property, and she laughs when she remembers the efforts to which Check 6 went to acquire the photos that she took of the dead cougar cub in 1997. “This was a day when there was no digital: you couldn!t just email it. They sent a taxi, from Victoria to Sooke, I met them and handed them the film. It just seemed to me, I!m not quite getting this… The picture ended up on the front page of the paper. They paid 200 dollars and we bought one sheep with it [laughs]. So it didn!t quite cover the dead ones.” Lauren!s story is a familiar one in Sooke, and one that is to all appearances becoming more common. Reflecting on his decades shadowing vancouverensis, Bill (2009) says cougars are creatures of habit in the paths they trace upon the landscape, following a virtually identical travel route as their ancestors, sometimes all the way up and down Vancouver Island. When new subdivisions are constructed within spaces that were previously either home territory to cougars or regularly en route to one, houses, fences, and to a lesser extent dogs, present little in the way of deterrents. Mobility and space are central to cougars! existence. Although they exist at low population densities, cougars need large areas and their offspring require space into which to migrate – both for survival and for regional gene flow (Beck et al. 2005). Younger  vancouverensis spreading into new territories often select the only option available: a human occupied space. The new subdivision is officially now a cougar-human contact zone, and will probably remain one until a Conservation Officer destroys the cougar. The only other option entertained by the COS is relocation, but it is only viable if the cougar is old and healthy enough to fend for itself and has not been known to have attacked pets or livestock, behaviour it is likely to repeat even if relocated.7 Lauren!s story is also an example of everyday practices that produce backyard spaces in Sooke. In Lauren!s case, she and her family had constructed fencing, purchased sheep, and installed them in the pasture area. A network of humans and nonhumans made and maintained this space, which, despite the fencing, had porous boundaries. Many entities passed through the fencing all the time, including domestic dogs, who frequently killed Lauren!s sheep. A  vancouverensis incursion, however, was too large a threat to the sheep!s biosecurity, and to the biosecurity of Lauren!s children and pets. When the cougars entered the fenced backyard space where Lauren!s sheep resided, the cougars transformed that space. It was no longer a safe space. The cougars, animals Lauren speaks about in reverent tones, were made killable by their  7  According to Paul (2009), relocation is feasible about half of the time, but is not carried out this often.  72  actions, by the space they, in concert with sheep, humans and no doubt multiple other entities, produced. In response, Lauren called the Conservation Officer Service (COS). The COS has names and numbers for the few Island residents left who keep packs of hounds trained to sniff out cougars. The hounds and their trainer locate the cougar, usually tree it (Figure 4.5), and the CO tranquilises it in the event of a relocation, or more often shoots it.  Figure 4.5  Cougar treed and subsequently shot by COs in Sooke, 2008  Photograph by Peter Pauwels  This team is, I argue, an assemblage of boundary agents. Political geographer David Newman (2006) emphasises boundary agents as central to the processes of boundary maintenance, listing border guards, religious leaders, and government officials as positions that are instruments of territorial control. I argue that his list should be broadened to include positions that police species boundaries. Conservation officers and hunters, accompanied by their canine sidekicks, form a sort of mutli-species biosecurity brigade. Their job is essentially to maintain 73  what are perceived to be proper boundaries between human and cougar space, to biosecure the backyard, to bring into being and maintain what Sundberg (2009, 39) calls a “strategic arrangement of humans and nonhumans.” Again, though, biosecuring is a perpetually incomplete state, and residents of Sooke, COs and others quickly realise that “the wild” is not something or someplace outside of the domestic world. Rather, as cougars remind us, wild things and places are routinely entangled among the networks of human social life (Whatmore 2002; Wilbert 2006; Hinchliffe 2007). Cougars are on the move, and with their movement, they unsettle networks and fabricate new ones, and in parallel, they unsettle and fabricate new spaces. When Lauren called the COS, she was essentially calling upon a network of entities – humans, dogs, guns, and trucks – to stop cougars, to make them still. She wanted to restore what she perceived to be a boundary between her backyard – a safe, domestic space for children, pets and livestock – and the woods surrounding her property, where cougars belonged. She wanted to arrest the flow of cougars between these two spaces. Cougars disrupted and transformed her backyard space, reconfigured the network of entities that produce backyard space – and Lauren called upon the COs to re-establish the network as one without cougars and the backyard as a biosecure space. In Sooke, new subdivisions are perpetual contemporary features of the landscape. The backyards in these subdivisions often back onto wooded areas frequented by cougars. The need to create and maintain these backyard spaces as biosecure is being expressed more and more frequently, as humans become increasingly wary of their large feline neighbours. This is exemplified by a rise in calls made to the COS about vancouverensis in Sooke (Graph 4.3).  74  Graph 4.4  Calls to COS in Sooke about cougars, 2002-20088  Data source: COS. 2008. Email to author, 04 December 2008, Victoria, BC  Surges in wildlife sightings across the province, coupled with funding and staff cutbacks (WCEL 2007) have led the COS to implement new official policies regarding its response to calls. As of 2002, the COS only responds to such calls if children, pets or livestock are directly or persistently threatened (COS 2002). In other words, only a threat to children, pets and livestock makes cougars killable. Even when COs do report to the sight of a problematic cougar-human interaction, the cougars often evade detection, capture and death. In a typical CO-Sooke resident-vancouverensis entanglement, it took one CO four visits to my childhood street in winter, 2007 when an injured cougar began stalking small neighbourhood animals. In late February, 2007, a neighbour, Dave, on my parents! quiet, rural street in Sooke knocked on the door with a message for all neighbourhood pet-owners and parents of young children: there was a starving, injured cougar roaming the area, feasting on its smaller, domestic feline cousins. A conservation officer had been called, but had been unable to locate the cougar.  8  Unfortunately, the COS does not have pre-2002 recorded data that it is willing to share.  75  This was not an unusual neighbourhood event. Just the year before, a juvenile cougar had been treed and shot dead near our backyard. While my parents half-heartedly called the orange cat with whom my sister and I grew up with, Peaches, inside, my father confessed that he could not help but think that there were far less noble manners of death for Peaches than to himself fall prey to a wild animal, his distant ancestor, no less. Peaches escaped this valiant fate (and lives on still), but Dave!s cat was not so lucky. From his living room Dave recounts the story of when his cat, Pookie, met the cougar. Dave was gardening in his backyard on a sunny February day when he noticed a cougar was laying right there underneath the tree [gestures to his backyard] and… the branches actually went down close to the ground so the cougar was basically laying right by the trunk of the tree watching Pookie and Pook walked right into him and the cougar didn!t even move. Pook just walked right into him, right into its mouth. There was just a little rustle, and Pook let out a eeegh and the cougar immediately limped off. Killed Pook instantly, one chomp in the neck and it was over. And then the cougar basically just took Pook off into the bush – limped off into the bush with Pook. I was just sittin! there stunned, and said holy shit, right? The cougar consumed two poodles, some rabbits, a fawn, half a dozen domestic cats, and a family of raccoons before someone finally glimpsed the cougar on a sunny enough day that its scent would stay fresh. In early March a pack of hounds managed to track down the young male deep in Dave!s backyard. “So I heard the hounds and I walked out there”, Dave says, through the trail and sure enough, there were the hounds and sure enough the CO and the guy with the hounds and they cornered the cougar inside a racoon den – that!s where the cougar was holing up – he killed the racoons and then took their den [laughs.] And that was sort of the cougar!s base of operations. And I was there when you know, the CO basically stuck the gun in the den and shot it – bang – point blank. The officer dragged the cougar out of the den and put it in the back of a pickup (Figure 4.6).  76  Figure 4.6  Young male cougar “destroyed” by Conservation Officer in Sooke, 2005  Source: Photograph by Pirjo Raits, courtesy of Sooke News Mirror  At the time of its death, it was revealed that the juvenile vancouverensis was “half-dead” (Dave 2009), mangy, emaciated, with a septic wound and a broken front leg from being hit by a car on Highway fourteen a few weeks earlier (Raits 2005). Dave reveals ambivalence similar to Lauren!s when he says about his backyard space: “but it!s not [humans!] yard. We!re in [the cougars!] yard”. This is their territory; they live here. They live here. This is their home. And we!re squattin! on it [laughs].” But he still says that he did not hesitate to call the CO when his cat was killed. Although Dave maintains that he lives not in human space but in cougar space, his actions suggest the opposite. He views his backyard as an extension of his home, a space where his and his pets! lives are safe. Consequently, in the same manner as Lauren, although Dave expresses understanding and even appreciation for the fact that he shares his backyard space with other creatures, even large ones like cougars and bears, these animals become killable when they threaten and/or kill the animals that he perceives as belonging more in his 77  backyard space than cougars. Pets are part of a network of entities that produce safe backyard space. Cougars are not. Biosecuring his backyard meant that the cougar, far too sick and destructive to be relocated, had to be destroyed. What is particularly interesting about Dave!s story is that the cougar attacked Dave!s cat Pookie when Pookie strayed from the well-tended area of Dave!s backyard, where Dave cultivates extensive, neat rows of flowers, to a borderland area between the backyard and the swampy area beyond the property, the space that the cougar had ostensibly claimed as his small territory once a speeding car made him unable to travel his usual routes. The cougar was waiting with open jaws under a tree that forms the visual boundary of Dave!s backyard. Neither Dave, nor Pookie, nor Dave!s other cat saw the cougar lying in wait in this borderland zone – a space that was not from human or housecat perspective biosecure. From the raccoon den that was the cougar!s “base of operations”, the cougar produced a space within which it could survive, drawing multiple other animals, such as poodles, racoons, cats and deer, into a network that ensured its survival. The space that this network – let me refer to it as the cougar!s network – produced crossed over into and thus transformed the backyard space that Dave!s network of pets, plants and people produced. The backyard space became unsafe. The biosecurity brigade was called in to transform the space, reclaim it as cougar-free. Central to the production of these spaces is movement, as Latour (1988) emphasises – the movement of cougars, of cats, and of backyards themselves, as they traverse previously “empty” landscapes across Sooke. From the accounts related within this chapter, the conclusion is drawn that the conventional approach to characterising space and boundary making is inadequate when analysing spatial practices that enrol multiple species. Spaces in these moments of multispecies negotiation are not pre-given, absolute and fixed, but even more importantly, they are not bounded and demarcated by humans alone. Other entities engage in their own spatial practices. Human!s spatial practices and other species! spatial practices intertwine with and enrol each other in complex and precarious ways. Dave!s story illustrates this clearly. The cougar produced a space by establishing a base of operations in a raccoon den, and then trespassing occasionally into local backyard spaces to eat small prey in order to stay alive. As Latour (1988, 25) argues, the space in this case did not frame the cougar!s movement. Rather, space was “traced by [the] reversible or irreversible displacement” of the cougar and its prey. This transformed space intertwined with the backyard spaces that Sooke resident!s were seeking to produce and maintain through networks of plants, pets and livestock. As a result of this intertwining, backyard spaces became insecure, unsafe. Another network of entities – what 78  I have called the biosecurity brigade – was called upon to make human and domesticated life safe again, to biosecure backyard space. When networks of entities stabilise, whether they are cougar and prey networks or biosecurity brigade networks, “spatial relations are simultaneously being performed” (Law 2000, 4). In this chapter I show that heterogeneous networks of entities are continually producing spaces (Massey 2005; Murdoch 2006). I do this by grounding a discussion of the production of space in a particular context: the production of backyard spaces in Sooke. Cougar-human entanglements transform backyard space in Sooke, and subsequent attempts to bound Sooke!s backyards and control cougar bodies occur within network of entities and are motivated by a desire for biosecurity. Backyard spaces are continually made and remade into domestic, safe spaces, in part through the construction of fencing, the (controlled) movements of pets and livestock, and the planting of gardens, and so on, and also by the enforcement of boundaries intended to exclude particular species, in this case, cougars. But cougars are also enrolled in complex networks or relations and they produce space as well. In Sooke, a town whose backyards continue to expand into lands frequented by vancouverensis, cougars! networks and spaces frequently criss-cross with the networks and spaces of which humans are a part. Cougars and humans entangle. Humans fear these entanglements and the spatial configurations they generate. Cougars, by virtue of their size, strength, and predatory abilities, upset backyard space when they move through it. Their presence and movements disrupt the qualities of safety, tameness and order that a backyard space is meant to embody and provide. Accordingly, Conservation Officers, in concert with trained dogs, guns, and so on, are called upon to perform a biosecure space, usually by destroying the cougar, the entity that reconfigured the network and space of the biosecure backyard upon moving into it. Space is thus relationally performed within networks of humans, technologies, and multiple other animals. As Latour suggests, spaces are forged within networks of circulating entities. They are “consequences of the ways in which bodies relate to one another” (Latour 1997b, 174). When cougar bodies and human bodies relate to each other they produce bio-insecure spaces, and other networks of bodies are circulated to perform a different space, one deemed, at least for the moment, biosecure. Changing the way we think about space and boundary making to account for the multiple and more than human entities enrolled in their production has consequences for how we think about agency and action. If we accept that cougars! dynamism and specific corporeal construction matter to how and why particular spatial practices unfold – to how space is 79  produced, how boundaries are policed, and how they are contested – then spatial practices can begin to be seen as occurring within a complex network of entities. What might this suggest about agency, about the capacity to act in the world? To explore this question, I turn to another cougar-human entanglement on Vancouver Island: cougar science in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (PRNPR). Here I examine the production of wildlife science and knowledge rather than backyard space and security. In PRNPR, instead of actively excluding cougars from spaces, humans and multiple other entities sought to include cougars in their scientific practices. Inclusionary efforts, as will become evident, were as challenging as exclusionary efforts have been in Sooke, pointing, I argue, to the impossibility of pinning cougars down, of forcing them out or in, of staving off what Tim Ingold (2008, 1796) calls the “creeping entanglements of life.”  80  Chapter 5. (En)count(er)ing cougars in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve There is an important sense in which practices of knowing cannot be fully claimed as human practices, not simply because we use nonhuman elements in our practices but because knowing is a matter of part of the word making itself intelligible to another part (Barad 2003, 829)  It was just before dusk in early May 2002 when a couple hiking the world-renowned West Coast Trail, a 75km trek along the west coast of Vancouver Island within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (PRNPR), encountered a cougar. The woman hiker was crouched along the bank of Walbran Creek, gathering water upstream of where the creek!s deep, clear waters meet the unruly Pacific Ocean. Standing up, she noticed a waist-high cougar sitting silently less than five meters away, watching her impassively. Before she had a chance to yell for her hiking partner, the cougar turned and walked slowly off into the bushes along the south side of the river. Later that night once darkness had fallen, the couple was kneeling outside their tent when their headlamps illuminated a pair of enormous orb-like yellow eyes gazing at them from less than two meters distance. They froze face to face with the cougar for an instant before leaping to their feet, shouting and waving their arms. The cougar retreated, vanishing into the night. 1 This springtime cougar-human meeting was merely the prelude. In the following summer months, hikers tackling the WCT reported over forty cougar observations (Parks Canada 2003). In the same season, visitors to Long Beach, a sixteen kilometre sandy stretch of coastline curving in a slow arc around Wickaninnish Bay, in the northern section of PRNPR, were \encountering cougars in an explosion of frequency. Scrambling to respond to these unprecedented levels of cougar-human interaction in PRNPR, officials and ecologists were compelled to acknowledge that within park bounds, very little was known about the large predator that was startling hikers and tourists as they soaked in the “rich natural and cultural heritage of Canada's west coast” (Parks Canada 2009). Until that time, no study of cougars had been carried out west of the Island!s north-south running mountain range, where the landscape histories, ecologies and dynamics varied considerably from the eastern side of the Island. Even where studies of cougars had been carried out, scientists were quick to point out their fallibility, noting the difficulties presented by attempting to gain knowledge about and monitor such an “elusive”, and “shy” animal, whose “secretive behaviour, high mobility, general solitary nature,  1  This anecdote is adapted from Theberge (2007, 13-14)  81  and preference for habitat that is lightly travelled by humans [make them] very difficult to survey (Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks 1998, 33; Beck et al. 2005; Dan 2008; Kristy 2009a). This chapter examines the challenges to producing knowledge about cougars through a slightly different lens, considering how cougars themselves are actors in this production. In contrast to much animal studies work – and the work presented in the previous chapter – that highlights human efforts to exclude animals from particular spaces, this chapter traces human attempts to include animals in scientific spaces and practices. Specifically, I follow the movements of cougars, scientists, and multiple animate and technological devices as they are enrolled in the scientific study of cougars that was carried out in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. This chapter foregrounds the nonhuman collaborators in what are widely perceived to be human-produced scientific achievements and knowledges. I highlight how scientists attempt to draw cougars into the study to "read" cougars' movement and behaviours across space, and how cougars! biological and behavioural characteristics inflect and disrupt these efforts. In other words, my focus is practices of wildlife science that revolve around counting and encountering cougars across space, and how cougars matter to how these practices unfold. First, by way of context, I briefly review how PRNPR became a defined space, how the predator!s place in park space shifted over time, and the implications for cougar-human co-existence in the park space.  Parks, predators and the politics of ex-/in-clusions Pierre Trudeau!s Liberal government established Pacific Rim National Park in 1970 as Canada!s first national park on the country!s west coast. When the Canada National Parks Act came into effect in 1999, the national park was officially re-designated as a “national park reserve”, a designation intended to reflect the ongoing treaty negotiations underway within and beyond the park boundaries between the provincial government and nine of the fourteen Nuu-chalh-nulth First Nations, upon whose traditional lands the park is located. 2 These traditional lands constitute a significant part of PRNPR!s “cultural heritage” component advertised by Parks Canada (2009). The “natural heritage” component of the park is constituted by the over 500 square kilometres of rainforest and rugged shoreline, which lead Parks Canada (2009) to characterise PRNPR as the protector of “a wealth of natural features representing the coastal plain portion of Pacific Coast Mountains Natural Region and the near shore waters of the 2  As Parks Canada (2008, i) acknowledges that PRNPR “is a relatively recent land-use designation within these long-established First Nations traditional territories”. Parks Canada (2009) admits that there is still much to do in forging strong working relationships and partnerships with First Nations in the park.  82  Vancouver Island Shelf Marine region… a meeting place of land and sea.” Land and sea meet in the park in three separate units: Long Beach Unit (LBU), a thin coastal park located between the towns of Tofino and Ucleulet; West Coast Trail Unit (WCTU), the 75 km trail from Port Renfrew to Bamfield that, as the introductory anecdote to this chapter illustrates, is travelled by more than just humans; and Broken Group Islands Unit (BGIU), an archipelago of more than one hundred islands and rocks scattered off the coast in between LBU to the north and WCTU to the south, frequented by wolves and kayakers alike. In 2000, a region comprising the LBU of PRNPR as well as Clayoquot Sound, a region north of LBU, and sixteen provincial parks, an area totalling approximately 350,000 hectares, became Canada!s thirteenth Biosphere Reserve, appointed as such by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Biosphere reserves are sites recognized under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, although they remain under national sovereign jurisdiction. There are 531 sites worldwide in 105 countries (UNESCO 2009). It is widely recognised within scholarly literature that the creation of park spaces worldwide has been predicated upon the displacement of indigenous and nonindigenous people who inhabited these spaces (Spence 1999; Braun 2002; Olwig 2002; Ramutsindela 2004; Sundberg and Kaserman 2007). In Canada, many Aboriginal groups were moved to reservations in order for parkland to be established (Kopas 2007). The displacement of people from parkland is in part driven by the belief that parkland should not be a dwelling place for humans. The strictness with which this idea has been implemented in Canadian parks has changed over time, and is unevenly enforced. For instance, Banff National Park, home to an elaborate system of highways, hotels, and residences, is often cited as an example of how “humanised” park landscapes have become. On the other hand, a small community of squatters that had been living for over a decade in Sombrio Park, adjacent to PRNPR, was evicted in the 1990s. The tension between use – including recreation, hunting, tourism, and resourceextraction – and preservation – the maintenance of human-free landscapes – has always been pronounced in Canada!s national Park system (Kopas 2007). The exclusions that have occurred in Canada!s parks are, however, always discussed in purely human terms. While I do not discount protected areas! role in sanctioning exclusions of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples globally, I wish to draw attention to a concurrent, and perhaps more insidious, project of displacement, erasure and exclusion. This exclusion involves nonhuman residents of parks. First of all, nonhumans are excluded from the body politic, except  83  occasionally as symbols or representations (Woods 1998; Wilcox 2009). 3 That is, while nonhumans are often drawn upon as symbols of Canadian national identity, they have no formal representation in the political arena. Second, animals are in very real ways forcibly included in and excluded from park spaces. National parks “national” designation fixes parks as spaces representative of the nation (Kopas 2007), and invites a sense of ownership by the national citizenry over the land claimed by the nation-state (Cerwonka 2004). This status of parks as stand-ins for the nation and as belonging to the “Canadian public” is important vis-à-vis wildlife, because particular wildlife configurations within parks thereby become meaningful for how the nation is imagined. Consequently, Canadian political and park officials have long been preoccupied with maintaining specific arrangements of nonhumans within park boundaries (see Chapter 2). The history of PRNPR reveals a similar story. This is a park whose existence was only possible once the region was largely emptied of its thousands of First Nations inhabitants over a century of colonisation. The park!s current designation as a National Park Reserve does little to assuage the concerns of the Aboriginal residents whose lands were stripped from them to become Canadian “public” lands. Importantly, the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations were not the only beings who were forced off parklands in order to facilitate the creation of PRNPR. When PRNPR was established in 1970, an era of intense predator “management”, or perhaps more accurately extermination, was slowly drawing to a close. Broader shifts in public-perceptions of predators – the so-called “rehabilitation of the predator” (Loo 2006) – catalysed policy changes concerning the province!s large, carnivorous creatures. As discussed in Chapter 2, these shifts in how humans imagine cougars are captured tellingly by governmental cougar reclassifications, from “vermin” to “game” and then to “wildlife”. These shifts are also broadly reflected in predator management in park landscapes. During the first stages of Canadian parks development in the late 1800s, predators were unwelcome creatures, actively excluded from park spaces (Loo 2006). By the mid 1900s, predator killing in parks was disallowed for all species. Today, park predators, including bears, wolves and cougars, are commonly considered the flagship species of wilderness and park spaces. Partly in response to the “rehabilitation” of the predator, Canadian park officials and ecologists have adopted a new position on park visitation in some park spaces, particularly the 3  Yet animals are political actors in their own right, as is recently argued by Jessica Dempsey (Draft MS) in the context of grizzly bears in BC!s Great Bear Rainforest. Also see Hobson (2007). Unfortunately this topic falls outside of the scope of this chapter.  84  most “wild” ones. Where the primary objective of parks used to be human recreation, parks are now deemed first and foremost wildlife habitat (Kopas 2007; Dickmeyer 2009). People need to be reminded that parkland “is cougar territory, not human territory”, a parks official told me (Dan 2008). Consequently, visitor education campaigns have begun reminding people that they are merely visitors to “cougar country” (Parks Canada 2004), and that they should at all costs “keep carnivores wild and wary!” (Parks Canada 2004). It is worth noting the contradictions of this message – “you are in cougar country” – and the park!s designation as a “national” space belonging to the Canadian public. Is parkland a place for humans – and if so, First Nations or white settlers – is it a place for cougars and other creatures? Or is it a complicated combination of belonging? These questions have significant consequences for how the cougar-human relationship in PRNPR and more broadly is negotiated. Currently, one of the strategies in negotiating this relationship is to discourage interaction between human park visitors and wildlife in an effort to retain animals! “wildness” and their fear of humans, thus minimising wildlife-human “conflict” (Parks Canada 2004). This discouragement of wildlife habituation and human-wildlife interaction is enshrined in Canadian law: in Canada!s national parks, it is unlawful to bring pets into backcountry areas and to feed wildlife of any kind. Today, the over 800,000 annual visitors to PRNPR are reminded this by a large sign that states “it is illegal to fee wildlife”, located at the entrance to the park by vehicle. In addition to this legal stipulation, visitors to PRNPR are encouraged to read brochures and posters located throughout the park, communicating the risks of habituated wildlife and informing campers of the proper campsite etiquette. Park officials emphasise cougars and wolves as the primary problem animals, broadcasting widely the message that humans are merely visitors to cougar and wolf territory, and therefore a particular decorum is required. Despite measures taken to reduce cougar-human conflict, cougars and humans continue to meet in park bounds at an increasing rate (Theberge 2007) (Graph 5.1).  85  Graph 5.1  Number of notable cougar-human encounters in PRNPR, 1983-20054  Data source: Theberge, M. 2007. Human encounters with wolves and cougars in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve Area: summary and analysis of behaviour. Report for the WildCoast Project.  At the Port Renfrew field station (Figure 5.1), park officials track cougar-human encounters along the WCT on a map pasted on a white-board. They can move cougar figurines along the map to correspond where encounters have occurred and keep notes about cougar sightings (Figure 5.2).  4  The data in this graph represent those cougar observations in PRNPR that are defined as “encounters” by Theberge. Of the 516 cougar observations that took place between 1983 and 2006, only 164 were deemed encounters and included in the dataset, and the 7 of these that occurred in 2006 were excluded from this graph because the data for 2006 were incomplete.  86  Figure 5.1  View from the Port Renfrew Warden Station towards the WCT and Gordon Bay  Photograph by the author  Figure 5.2  Park wardens! tracking system for cougar-human encounters along the WCT  Photograph by the author  87  At the same time as parks officials are attempting to discourage park visitors! interactions with cougars and other wildlife, the visitors are expressing more interest than ever in having such encounters. “When people come to a national park they almost expect that they!ll see wildlife”, says Kristy (2009b), a park warden, like it!s a part of their permit fee that we!ll provide them with this wildlife experience [laughs]. So in a lot of the national parks that!s exactly what happens is people chase wildlife with cameras and if you try to educate them and say you know this is the result of when you do this is a bear becomes habituated and blah blah blah, they get actually quite annoyed with you because this is their right and they!ve come to national park and this is the experience I!m going to have and back off… If one or two hikers actually encounter a cougar all the hikers after that really badly want to have that same experience. Park officials refer to this phenomenon as “cougar fever”. In response to the increase in cougar-human interaction displayed in Graph 5.1, scientists and park officials decided to launch a study of cougars and wolves within PRNPR, the first study of its kind west of Vancouver Island!s north-south running mountain range. The study, called WildCoast, drew together a diverse group of actors in an attempt to generate knowledge about the two species of predator. Park officials wanted to know how many cougars and wolves were in PRNPR so that they might better manage the wildlife-human relationship in cougar and wolf country. Science was called upon to serve what has been one of its primary conventional roles over the past few centuries: to speak of and for nonhumans (Hinchliffe et al. 2005). But before science can speak for nonhumans, it needs to generate knowledge. How is this accomplished? To find out, I track the trackers, following WildCoast actors! movements and practices as they followed cougars! movements and practices.  “Finding a needle in a haystack”: WildCoast!s “detective work” WildCoast scientists worked for five years employing various non-invasive and indirect tracking mechanisms to study where and how many cougars were living in and passing through the park space, and where and what cougars hunted in the park. The study was primarily funded by Parks Canada in partnership with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust (CBT). 5 The scientific study  5  The CBT is a local non-governmental, non-profit organisation appointed to assist the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Region Community by administering a Government of Canada provided  88  was part of a larger inter-disciplinary project that included dozens of researchers from local universities who were concerned with the human dimension of wildlife-human interaction in park spaces. This section focuses on relaying the scientific practices of WildCoast, exploring how answers to the questions outlined above were sought and the results of the four-year study. The following section interprets these practices theoretically. Unfortunately, by the time I began studying the WildCoast project, the study had already concluded its field component, and so I draw on interviews with WildCoast scientists, who are also Parks Canada officials, and reports from the WildCoast project, to explain the study. When the WildCoast scientists set out in 2003 to count cougars and monitor their movements in PRNPR, they were aware that the landscape within which they were conducting their work had already to a significant extent dictated their scientific practices. The lush rainforest for which the park is famous precludes aerial monitoring of wildlife. In snowy, clear and open conditions, such as in BC!s interior areas, where one WildCoast scientist (Kristy 2009a) had learned the skill of tracking cougars, surveyors can roughly estimate cougars populations and movements without even seeing a cougar or setting foot on the ground, finding and following tracks in the snow. The general practice for surveying cougars more precisely is to approach from above, locating cougars from a helicopter, capturing them with a net gun, immobilising them with tranquilisers – for example, a dart rifle-fired syringe dart or jab stick containing Ketamine hydrochloride (KHCL) and xylazine hydrochloride (XHCL) – or by covering their eyes, and fitting them with a radio collar that can then be tracked with a radio receiver. This practice, known as radio-telemetry, is widely acknowledged as the “gold standard” for obtaining data on cougar population sizes (Beck et al. 2005, 44; Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks 1998). The same procedure can also be completed without helicopters if researchers have access to a pack of trained tracking dogs, and if the landscape is accessible to dogs and humans. Capturing and collaring cougars by helicopter or with dogs is impossible in PRNPR. The thick tree canopy obscures cougars from the air, and the dense underbrush impedes human and canine access. The WildCoast scientist who had been trained to track cougars near Banff, Alberta, relates that during the WildCoast study, she had to completely relearn techniques of counting cougars because of the radically different landscape. Part of the study became, as she notes, about how to gain knowledge about cougars in landscapes like Pacific Rim Park, that is, endowment fund of $12 million. The CBT provides funding and logistical support for research, education and training initiatives that promote conservation and sustainable development (CBT 2001).  89  in landscapes that are neither sparse nor snowy. In response to cougars! notorious secrecy and solitude and to the landscape ecologies within which they were working, WildCoast scientists opted to track cougars by what are called “signs of passage,” indicators of a cougar!s presence in a particular space, and some indication of its presence in time. These signs of passage, which include prey carcasses, hair, scat, and tracks, can be thought of as what Hinchliffe et al. (2005) call “traces”, or even cougar “writing”, which will be discussed later in this chapter. So WildCoast became a project dedicated to finding and eliciting signs of passage, traces left by cougars as they pass through space, to reading cougar writing on the park landscapes (after Hinchliffe et al. 2005). It is literally “detective work” (Kristy 2009b). But detecting signs of cougar passage is no simple matter in PRNPR. Kristy, who is a WildCoast scientist and Master of Science student in addition to a PRNPR park warden, shakes her head as she says finding cougars! signs of passage in PRNPR is “like finding needles in a haystack”. To facilitate the process, scientists enrolled a heterogeneous collection of entities and technologies – both human and nonhuman – into the search for signs of passage. As Donna Haraway (2008, PG) says, “technologies are always compound. They are composed of diverse agents of interpretation, agents of recording, and agents for directing and multiplying relational action.” The network drawn together in order to carry out the WildCoast project was similarly compound; it was constituted by multiple entities. Following work by Latour (2005) and more recently Sundberg (2009), the group is hereafter known as the WildCoast Scientific Collective (WCSC). A collective in this case is a group of human and nonhuman actors whose participation is necessary to ensure the overall functioning of the network; here, all members need to participate in order for science to be practiced. Without these agents, the collective does not stabilize; it does not achieve a semi-durable form; the study cannot operate. At the very least, the following is a rudimentary list of the members of the WCSC – the agents of interpretation, recording, directing and multiplying relational action. It is by no means an exhaustive list.6 •  Several humans: scientists with extensive formal training in biology and experience in tracking predators; dozens of volunteers with no training or tracking experience  •  One dog, Carson: a specially trained golden Labrador  •  Eleven heat and motion sensor cameras  6  Only the most consequential items have been included on this list – members of the WCSC that were directly involved in soliciting and recording signs of cougar passage. Many other things are missing from the list, including everything from cell phones to trucks and boats, backpacks, tents and sleeping bags, and lap top computers.  90  •  Thirty scent lures and rub pads: carpets with ten to twelve roofing nails hammered into them and coated with a laboratory-concoction meant to mimic cougar urine  •  Dozens of aluminium pie plates  •  Who knows how many cougars  The non-cougar agents of the study might all be referred to, following Callon (1986), as “devices of interessement”, designed to interesse cougars, to capture cougars! attention, to enrol cougars into the network, to invite them to participate. Like the towlines and collectors assembled by scientists to attract scallops in St. Brieuc Bay, the pie plates and rub pads are put out into the world by WildCoast scientists to attract cougars and ultimately to stabilise their position in the WildCoast Scientific Collective. This will be discussed in more detail shortly. For now, suffice to say that without these agents and a particular relational arrangement between and among them, the study could not take shape. In fact, it will become clear that a member group of the scientific collective – the cougars – failed to relate as expected with the rest of the community and therefore fundamentally altered the project. Operating under the assumption that cougars regularly travel along human roads and trails, 7 WildCoast scientists used the West Coast Trail as one 75 kilometre long transect. In Long Beach Unit, 11 transects were mapped out, between one and four kilometres long. Within each transect, researchers carefully distributed the devices meant to attract cougars and register their presence. The dog, Carson, who had recently returned from sniffing out jaguar scat in Argentina, used its superior olfactory skills to sniff out cougars! scat and leftover meals. The human researchers and volunteers set up the eleven motion and heat detector cameras along the WCT, their shutters triggered by the movement of a warm-blooded animal of a cougar!s approximate height. Hair snag sights, composed of a scent lure and rub pads, were set up along all of the transects. The scent lure was originally real cougar urine, imported from a captive cougar. However, scientists switched to a laboratory concoction developed for lynx but that was proven to have lured cougars. Kristy (2009b) describes the concoction as a dark paste that looks and smells exactly like olive tapenade. The paste is essentially designed to invoke a rubbing response in felines. “You!d get a little piece of carpet like this [starts drawing a representation] and it was like ten centimetres by ten centimetres. You!d punch about ten or twelve roofing nails in a circle. Even though everything in you!s screaming: that!s mean! We tried it on a house cat and the cat was just loving it and scraping her face and we were like okay  7  An assumption underpinned by casual observation as well as previous scientific study (Beck et al. 2005)  91  obviously it doesn!t hurt” (Kristy 2009). The paste was then smeared on the carpet and nails. Aluminium plates were also placed periodically to reflect the sun and draw cougars to the hair snag sights. Distributing these devices of interessement was a long process. Kristy (2009a) recalls that day after day was spent with her nose inches from the dirt, sliding along the ground on her stomach just in order to navigate the underbrush, scanning the ground for signs of cougar passage and periodically distributing devices of interessement. It was arduous, the scientists agree. But far more disheartening were the results. In short, very little of the project worked: Puma concolor vancouverensis remained characteristically un-interesse-ted. The cougars ostensibly ignored the “urine” soaked carpets and shiny aluminium plates. They were not captured on any cameras. (Kristy [2009b] jokingly swears “to God that the cougars are jumping right under [the cameras]!”) The scientists did not spot one cougar along their transects. In five trips along the WCT transect, a total of 42 days, Carson and the scientists found a mere three scat and a few seal carcasses. WildCoast scientists assure me that this is not because there are so few cougars in PRNPR. They know, from the number of valid cougar observations in the park, that the opposite is true. The lack of cougar (en)count(er)s was due to vancouverensis!s failure to be persuaded to be enrolled in the WCSC. The study was not, scientists are quick to point out, completely without value (Dan 2008; Kristy 2009b). Kristy (2009b) says that as far as detecting wildlife in PRNPR, the WildCoast study confirms that the most effective non-invasive tracking technique is track surveys. “You do pick up a lot of wildlife”, she (2009b) says, because there!s so much sand, right? Mainly it works because it!s so densely vegetated here that the animals are using the same trails that people are, and so even though in normal circumstances it!s really biased because you!re only surveying trails and beaches and you know but the reality of it is – I don!t think they!re bush crashing. They!re using the trails. If an animal passes through you can detect them as long as the environmental conditions are conducive: It!s not pouring rain or too windy. Of course you can still miss them, a million things that can influence that. When Kristy tallied the rate of detection – the amount of hours that are spent versus the amount of actual track detections – the surveying of track transects yielded the most overall detections for all species. Of course, this has little to do with cougars. But scientists did learn something new about cougars. The precious, rare scat was autoclaved to kill bacteria then cleaned and examined with a dissecting scope. Scat treated this way reveals some elements of being Puma concolor 92  vancouverensis: the time since the droppings were deposited, the cougar!s location, its habitat, and recent meals. Researchers were surprised to find harbour seal, sea lion and river otter in the scat, animals not previously known to be meal-worthy to cougars. But more importantly, when it comes to actually counting cougars, what the scat fails to reveal is DNA. During digestion, many animals, like wolves and bears, slough off intestinal – or epithelial – cells into their scat, enabling scientists to DNA test and therefore individuate scat. Because of the nature of their digestive system, cougars, on the other hand, do not excrete these cells into their scat, and therefore leave no individual “signature”, or what researchers call “genetic fingerprints” (Beck et al. 2005), behind. 8 This prevents scientists from knowing how many cougars there are ten piles of droppings could mean ten cougars or just one – or how they are – or it is – moving. Cougars, it would appear, are secretive down to their scat. The WildCoast study largely failed. Cougars were not enrolled into the WildCoast Scientific Collective, and as a result, the collective did not answer the questions it set out to answer. Dan (2008), a WildCoast scientist, admits “we have no idea how many cougars are in the park; we may never know”. Kristy (2009a) comments that things are further complicated by the fact that “each one, each cougar, is completely different.” Cougars! unique bodies, biologies and behaviours make them essentially uncountable in an environment like PRNPR. How are we to understand the failure of the WildCoast study? What does it mean that cougars are hard to count and encounter? Are there other ways to think about the WildCoast study!s participants and processes, ways that might reveal something about how knowledge is generated? I now retrace the steps taken in the WC study, focusing in more depth on key scientific practices and actors that/who constituted the project and how we might conceptualise these practices and actors more broadly for what they reveal about agency and knowledge generation.  Re-tracing WildCoast This section describes what it means to count and encounter cougars in the context of the WildCoast study. I begin by briefly discussing counting and encountering in general and then turn to the practices that revolved around counting and encountering vancouverensis in WildCoast. I tell a parallel version of the WildCoast story to bring three themes into focus:  8  I would like to note here that contrary to information given to me by WC scientists in interviews (WC Scientist I and WC Scientist II, Ernest et al. (2002) suggest that “genetic fingerprinting” of cougars is actually possible. I can only assume, being yet unable to reach the WC Scientists for follow-up interviews, that there was not sufficient DNA in the PRNPR cougar scat to conduct a genetic analysis.  93  sensing, corporeality, and traces, or writings. More to the point, I establish another story line for the WildCoast study. It begins with the specific sense-abilities and bio-physiological configurations of humans and cougars, then moves to the assembling of a collective of entities and devices meant to buttress human sensual registers and intervene in cougars! biophysiology, and concludes with the practices of this collective as it follows and records cougars! material marks in the world, something I refer to, following Hinchliffe et al. (2005), as traces. My objective in this section is to demonstrate how wildlife science – in this case, counting – is embodied. It is predicated on particular forms of encounter between multiple actors. The forms of encounter actors are able to enter into are limited by several factors, many of them related to the physical construction of bodies and how these bodies register their environments. In other words, the generation of knowledge in the WildCoast study depended upon the capacity of bodies – human and non – to sense each other in encounters. Bodies matter to the unfolding of scientific practices and the construction of knowledges. Let me start with the human body. Humans are warm-blooded mammals, diurnal, terrestrial, and generally bipedal, between 1.4 and 1.9 meters tall. Their bodies are equipped with a particular set of sensory apparatuses. Human noses, relative to many other species, do a passable but nowhere near exceptional job of smelling. Human skin and nervous systems register heat, cold, pressure and pain. Human ears hear a particular set of frequencies, the full range of which extends from 20 to 20,000 hertz (Cutnell and Johnson 1998). Humans mouths and taste buds distinguish between the arguably four basic tastes. Last, but by no means least, given humans! ocular centricity, human eyes register electromagnetic radiation in the range called visible light, wavelengths falling between 380 to 750 nanometres, eyes that see well in the day and poorly in the dark. This is all to say that only a fraction of the electromagnetic, acoustic, and olfactory spectra are picked up by these five human senses. Only a portion of the world is directly intelligible to humans: things higher pitched, much subtler smelling, much larger, much smaller, much faster, or much slower remain unnoticed. Humans can, correspondingly, extend to varying degrees their sensory capacities through the use of a constellation of animate and inanimate technological aids (Lorimer 2007). These specific human competencies combine to reveal a slice of the material world, a particular piece of the picture. Together, they establish the frame through which humans make sense of the world (Hayles 1995; Lorimer 2007). As Lorimer (2007, 916) puts it, “the physiological and phenomenological configuration of the human body puts in place a range of filtering mechanisms” that intersect in varying ways with the characteristics and behaviours of 94  other species. Lorimer (2007) calls the intersection of human perceptual abilities with the biophysiology of other species “ecological charisma”. He stresses that ecological charisma is not an external property of nonhumans; rather, an organism!s ecological charisma is always relative to the human(s) with whom it is knotted in encounter. The term itself is meant to reflect the biophysioloy of nonhumans – the “ecological” part of the term, as well as human capacities – the charisma. I borrow Lorimer!s notion of ecological charisma and emphasise, with him, its non-anthropocentric possibilities, careful to avoid the constructivist trap of human exceptionalism that would have us believe that the world exists only as we perceive it, that our perceptions determine the shape of the world. In other words, I, with Lorimer and many others (cf. Barad 2007; Braun 2008; Haraway 1991; 1997; 2008), avoid as much as possible the tendency to see the world as entirely relative to humans! own perceptions. Instead, “ecological charisma” refers to an organism!s corporeal characteristics and rhythms neither as essential properties nor as totally relative, but rather as an outcome the inter- or even intra-action between the material and semiotic qualities of all creatures involved in the encounter. Ecological charisma!s emergence is constrained by an organism!s corporeal properties and by those of the human(s) or other creature(s) it meets (Lorimer 2007, 927). Ecological charisma is thereby relational and multiple. It expresses itself differently according to multiple factors. Accordingly, it matters to how knowledge about the organism is generated, and, indeed, to how we think about knowledge itself. Counting is one of the oldest and most vital elements of knowledge generation. Historian Malcolm Kottler (1974, 466) posits that counting “might seem to be the most straightforward form of observation”. It forms the foundations of scientific inquiry. It lies at the heart of quantification. What could be more neutral, more objective? Counting, says science studies scholar Aryn Martin (2004, 923), “whether in a quotidian or scientific setting, is usually taken for granted as mundane and transposable, regardless of the objects being counted.” The assumption that counting and numbers are objective lends the practice of counting and its results great weight. Numbers “have been recognized and theorized as paramount to claims of scientific (as well as political and social) objectivity and transparency” (Martin 2004, 923). Yet counts are, like all forms of scientific inquiry, a relational undertaking. They depend upon a specific coming together – an encounter – between that which is counting and that which is counted. As Callon and Law (2004, 8) state, encountering does not necessarily imply face-toface interaction, or “two physical bodies that are able to see and touch one another”. There are “other forms of presence”. In the WCSC, the forms of encounter that would have enabled 95  counting were technically between cougar fur and roofing nails. Researchers would have collected this hair and conducted DNA testing to establish how many different cougars had deposited hair. As it was, however, cougars failed to enter into an encounter with the roofing nails, for whatever reason: the urine concoction did not invoke the rubbing response, the aluminium pie plates did not catch cougars! eyes, or cougars were too consumed with the business of raising young or sleeping or finding food to bother with rubbing against old carpets. Within the WildCoast study, scientists! perceptions, the frame through which they made sense of the world, were limited not only by the scientists! own specific corporeal competencies  but also, inseparably, by the ecological charisma, or bio-physiology, of what was being sensed. In other words, humans! perceptions of the world are limited by their own biophysical capacities  and by the biophysicality of that which is being perceived. Human competencies and ecological features intersect to determine the detectability of the organism in question. In the WildCoast study, this intersecting dual set of limits on the ability to count and encounter cougars was evident throughout the project. Cougars! bio-physiological characteristics are discussed in more detail in Chapter 2. Particularly relevant to the WildCoast study, cougars! crepuscular hunting, wide ranging mobility and quiet movements dictated the type of being that was able to sense them. The human researchers! poor night vision, slow speed, poor hearing, and inability to detect cougar urine, scat, and residual presence by scent were substantial limiting factors in sensing cougars, just as humans! large size and upright stature were obstacles in the PRNPR landscape. Even with assistance of tools designed to enhance researchers! ability to count and encounter cougars – cameras, dogs, hair snag sights, very few cougars were detected. Specific human competencies, cougars! bio-physiology, and PRNPR ecologies, thus intersected in the study in a manner that made cougars! bodies – right down to their DNA – almost impossible to (en)count(er). Importantly, this shift in how we think about research takes account human and nonhuman bodies, as well as devices used to enhance human abilities and sensual registers. Bound as they are by specific sense-abilities, and confronted with specifically configured material forms, humans often partner with other entities and devices, with what Haraway (2003, 2008) refers to as companion species: microscopes, telescopes, dogs, glasses, auditory amplifiers, and so on – things and beings humans “become with”. In PRNPR, the absence of a keen sense of smell and shorter body with four legs led the humans of the WCSC to recruit the assistance of a canine olfactory specialist, as well as cameras and rub pads for recording and pseudo-cougar urine and shiny plates to direct and multiply relational action. We can think about these entities as “devices of interessement” (Callon 1986). As discussed in Chapter 3, devices 96  of interessement are designed to interesse cougars, to make cougars interested, to materially or semiotically enrol – or “lock in place” – the cougars into the alliance needed to form in order to generate knowledge. The devices are not themselves without influence in the collective. It has long been acknowledged within scientific communities that the tools used to measure and observe phenomena affect the measurement results (Barad 2007). Following the worldrenowned physicist-philosopher Niels Bohr, Barad argues that when scientists measure phenomena, certain properties of the phenomena are brought into focus while others are excluded. It is the measuring apparatus more than the scientist!s human wills and desires that governs whether properties are excluded or brought into focus. This is because, she goes on to say, measurements and scientific investigations are “social-material enactments that contribute to, and are a part of, the phenomena we describe” (Barad 2007, 26). In the WCSC, aluminium plates, rub pads, cameras, and “urine”-soaked carpets were devices meant to attract and register cougars! presence. These devices were, as Barad suggests, social-material enactments that become part of what scientists are hoping to describe: namely, cougar populations. If cougar interessement had been successful – for example, if a cougar or two had been curious about an aluminium plate or “urine”-soaked carpet and then rubbed up against a rub pad and deposited strands of fur for DNA analysis or been caught on camera – enrolment would have occurred and a semi-stable or durable alliance might have formed among the cougars, scientists, and other members of the WCSC. The devices would have combined to bring certain properties about cougars into focus, while others would have undoubtedly been excluded or even obscured. As we saw, though, cougars were not  interesse-ted, and this alliance did not form. Perhaps even more compellingly, the measurement devices used to analyse the rare scat traces that were recovered, failed to bring into focus what is the holy grail for researchers conducting wildlife counts: DNA. In sum, given cougars! specific ecological charisma, human researchers recruited several other entities to attempt to increase cougars! detectability, and ultimately the bodies and behaviours of both cougars and humans intersected with each other and the devices of interessement employed in the collective to determine the detectability of cougars to humans in the WildCoast study. In this sense, cougars! ecological charisma performed the shape of the WCSC. WC scientists produced cougars and cougars, as Paul Robbins (2005) might say, produced the WC scientists. I now explore in detail how the WCSC attempted to enrol and recruit Puma concolor vancouvensis. Within the WCSC the process of recruiting cougar enrolment can, like counting and encountering, be re-traced in a manner that accounts for cougar bodies and behaviours in 97  addition to human ones. Tracking cougars is a process of learning to sense cougars and the material traces they leave behind in the landscape. Sensing is essentially the ability to register the presence of other beings, even if it is signs of their absence that indicate this presence. The ability to sense is embodied and corporeal, the effect of an encounter between entities. It is “the property of the active outcome of an encounter” between manifold beings (Thrift 2004, 62) and is therefore fundamentally relational. The nature of sensing is generated in part by the form of the encounter: as theorists like Spinoza, Deleuze and Guattari, and Thrift suggests, the outcome of each encounter depends upon what forms of composition beings are able to enter into (Thrift 2007). To be able to sense another being is therefore, I argue, related to and shaped by ecological charisma. Both are emergent and relational, and the ability to sense depends upon a particular intersection of competencies, a strategic configuration of charismas. I draw on the notion of sensing to understand how scientists tried to find out information about cougars. This was essentially a project of seeking to sense cougars. Before discussing this in more detail, I introduce the idea of “traces”, or the “presence of absences”, and how these were also instrumental to the WCSC!s practices. In PRNPR, scientific, canine and volunteer researchers attempted to enter into predetermined forms of encounter with cougars, or more accurately their traces, and had to learn to sense particular physical configurations within these encounters. They had to learn to notice signs of cougar passage, traces left on the landscape, or what Hinchliffe et al. (2005) call animal writings. Writing, as Hinchliffe et al. (2005, 647) caution, is a risky term, but used with the aim of unsettling “the sense that nonhumans are always merely written up”, as if they were passive objects in scientific processes and observation. In conceding a share of the writing action to nonhumans we might be able to gesture toward their contributions to what Deleuze and Guattari (1987) call the “material processes of writing” (Hinchliffe et al. 2005). WildCoast humans engaged, then, in both reading and writing, the final written product of which was, in fact, coproduced within the WCSC. This is not to suggest that the WCSC did not aim to represent cougars. The objective of WildCoast was to record what Michel de Certeau (1984, 21) calls “the presence of absences whose traces where everywhere”. But as Hinchliffe et al. (2005) intimate, there is more going on here. This is not the process of a detached human being observing and uncovering facts about cougars and then translating them into marks on a page or lines on a graph that are then circulated. Rather, it is a co-production. In practice, these graphs and written reports are “woven together with the traces, tracks, and mammals to form a complex of writings” (Hinchliffe et al. 2005, 649). This complex of writings is produced by and within encounters 98  between cougar traces, recording devices, canine olfactory prowess, computers, and delicate human digits, to name a few. Cougars are the objects of knowledge in that the complex writings are assembled in order to learn about them. On the other hand, cougars are hardly objects here; they are not passive, blank screens waiting to be inscribed upon. . Rather than speaking for cougars (Callon 1986), scientists speak with them. In order to read cougars! writings, their traces, and then contribute their own writings, the WildCoast scientists had to train their eyes, and the dog train its nose, to recognise distinctions that were previously invisible to them. Track types had to be distinguished, for instance between wolf, cougar and domestic dog. The pictures, manuals, and conversations enlisted in this training changed the way researchers navigated their surroundings and sensed cougars. Learning cougar writing “involved rapid movements between texts, descriptions, field signs, conversations, comparisons, finding similarities, explaining differences, and so on. To be a good reader required [sic] a form of expertise that could combine multiple indications of presence, a looser kind of sense, a knowing around [cougars], a diagnostics, and a diagramming” (Hinchliffe et al. 2005, 648). As a WildCoast scientist (2009) who had years of cougar tracking experience in the region in and around Banff National Park observed, “I had to completely re-learn how to track cougars.” In the absence of snowy, open fields, she had to learn how to read a new system of cougar writing, one that involved half-washed away tracks in mud and navigating thick underbrush. She goes on to note that the WildCoast project suffered from a lack of trained cougar trackers. Cougar tracking is a skill aquired and honed over years. Dozens of volunteers assisted with combing transects for cougar traces, but the WildCoast scientist notes that most of them were “really bad at it”. They were, in a sense, illiterate. Kristy (2009b) understands that the volunteers were not skilled enough to see and distinguish cougar traces. “Everyone!s got different skills”, she says. The first year myself and two others were surveying and we had tons of detections for only a few hours. The second year… we partnered with volunteers with various levels of track identifying skills. They were being constantly monitored and they had been trained like to a level we thought was good. But it was incredible the difference in the data. Very few detections for an enormous amount of hours. So it makes a huge difference. It reiterated the fact that this technique is good if dot dot dot. You have to be really skilled. There are a lot of biases just by people!s error – human error. It is very difficult sometimes just to discern between tracks… [Volunteer!s] eyes just don!t distinguish. And they get – I don!t blame them – they get kinda bored out there too. I!m so tired! [they 99  say] We!re still walking?! [laughs] It takes a lot of focus and concentration. You!re always looking down. Kristy (2009b) admits that even for her, it is a challenge, “especially if [the tracks have] been sitting out there for a while. Even myself, the difference between a wolf and cougar after [the track has] been sitting out in the sand for more than two or three days… I know for sure it!s a carnivore I just can!t tell you which one.” She notes that the skill of tracking cougars is really a skill set you have to keep practicing. You!re trying to figure out how an animal walks through its environment. You know some animals walk really close to trees, other animals walk to and from the water, others walk right along the waterside. And they!ve got different gaits and different strides. And that changes with speed. Each human, depending on his or her ability to read cougar writings, senses cougar traces differently. Some cannot read cougar writings at all. Others, like Kristy, are speed-readers. In the middle of interviewing Kristy (2009b) at PRNPR Port Renfrew field station, the phone rang. Her boss from PRNPR headquarters in Tofino had a “scat challenge” for her. “Oh oh!” Kristy laughed. “Bring it on! Describe it!” Her boss told her a local fellow had found and delivered this particular scat and had taken several pictures and measurements. The boss was going to send them to Kristy. “Oh cool!” she exclaimed with genuine excitement. At a glance I would figure it was a large bear scat, said the boss. But it is full of hair and meat. “Oooh”, Kristy said, puzzled. Parts of the scat are two inches in diameter, the boss went on. Even for a bear scat it would be a pretty good size. “Did you uh – did you do dig around in it?” she asked her boss? “Nooo!” he said emphatically, laughing. “The local fellow who delivered the scat is completely convinced of the existence of Sasquatch.” I could not help myself and laughed at this. I could hear people laughing in the background and Kristy and her boss both laughed. “He found the scat about thirty meters from where he thought he saw a Sasquatch. He saw it through a spotting scope across the mud flats. He is keen to keep the scat intact.” “Ohh, ok”, Kristy (2009b) replied. “Right on! I!m looking forward to it! We like poop pictures!” She and I returned to our conversation. I include this anecdote to illustrate the contingency of tracking practices and scatalogical investigation, as well as the practice of learning to differentiate visual “little clues”, as Kristy (2009b) calls them, about cougar tracks and scat. However, neither years of training nor a collection of devices of interessement could make cougars – or their traces – encounter-able in the WCSC. Cougars do not write very much, and what they do write is not easy to read. A lack of good readers did not help, but cougars! 100  failure to be enrolled in the WCSC was primarily due to their reclusive nature and no-trace movement through the landscape. Then when scientists, volunteers, and Carson, the golden lab, were finished combing transects in PRNPR for signs of cougar passage, the devices of interessement were dismantled and collected, and the three piles of scat were delivered to the laboratory, where cougars again failed to enter into a revealing encounter or alliance with humans. Primarily, cougars! digestive systems precluded a congregation of cougars, humans, research equipment and DNA, making cougars! intestinal tracts a less obvious but still significant dimension of cougars! ecological charisma. In the absence of an alliance including DNA, researchers remain in the dark as to how many cougars roam the park. From the re-tracing of the WildCoast story that I conducted in this section, it becomes evident that researchers attempted to assemble a network of entities in order to attempt to generate knowledge, and the shape and durability of this assemblage was shaped sociallymaterially in many ways, by bodies, devices, biologies, landscapes, and behaviours. Corporeality and sense-ability are key to counting and encountering cougars. Specifically, the forms of encounter into which the members of the collective can enter with each other limit the degree to which humans can sense cougars and their traces. In turn, bodies and devices restrict these forms of encounter. Cougars! ecological charisma, the degree to which humans! biophysiological characteristics and cougars! bio-physiological characteristics intersect to bring the two species into specific forms of encounter and therefore sense each other, was augmented by devices of interessement designed to intervene in both human and cougar corporealities. These devices were also a formative part of the study as they brought some properties into focus while excluding others. In the concluding section to this chapter, I ask what this suggests more broadly about agency and knowledge generation. How can we conceive of action and agency in the WCSC? What does it mean to say that cougars were actors in the WildCoast study? How can we characterise their agency? How is knowledge generated and by whom?  Relational agency and the production of knowledge in WildCoast This section builds on and contextualises the discussion of agency presented in Chapter 3 to explore specifically how cougars matter to the production of knowledge in the WildCoast Project. In particular, I argue that cougars function as disabling or destabilising forces in the WildCoast Scientific Collective, but only in relation to the other entities within the collective. Cougars affect the outcomes of the project insofar as they (fail to) relate with the WCSC!s pie plates, “urine”-  101  smeared carpets, cameras, human researchers and canines. The goal of this discussion is to draw on theories of relational agency in order to make sense of what happened in the WildCoast study, to rethink the meaning of knowledge and how it is generated, and to get at what relational agency looks like in practice and what this might reveal about how science is practiced. I build on earlier discussion on relational agency from Chapter 3, examining in particular how we might conceptualise cougar agency. This chapter begins by discussing agency in the context of the WCSC, and then, drawing on work in feminist science studies, moves to examining what relational agency and the WildCoast study suggest about science and the production of knowledge. Agency is essentially the capacity to have an effect, to have influence, to catalyse change. 9 As discussed in Chapter 3, relational agency is a dynamic and never complete process, an achievement spun within networks of entities. Actors can only act in relation to other actors and action can only take place if entities align in particular configurations. These alignments occur all the time, in everyday life. They produce and constitute the world. The entities within networks can be human or nonhuman, animate or inanimate. Agency is grounded in encounters and entanglements between entities, but these entanglements do not have to be face-to-face meetings. Absence can be presence (Callon and Law 2004). This absencepresence is itself co-produced among not only the organism being detected and the scientists doing the detection but also the technological mediators intended to enhance sense-ability, and the landscape within which detection is sought (Braun 2008; Hinchliffe 2008), as I have suggested in this chapter. Agency is produced by entities relating within networks that are semiotic and also, perhaps more importantly in the case I explore here, material. Within the WCSC, cougars repeatedly fell short of researchers! expectations – or hopes – concerning how they would relate to the other entities. When the cougars! scat did not contain adequate DNA, when the cougars were not observed by humans, when the aluminium pie plates and hair snag sights failed to attract cougars! attention, when the cameras failed to register cougars presence (or, conversely, they registered cougars! absence), these were moments wherein the cougars acted to produce an effect, generally in this case a disabling or recalcitrant one. But, and this is crucial, the effect was only produced insofar as scientists were  trying to enlist cougars into the wider network. Cougars! failure to enter into the network was 9  The discussion of agency here is a truncated version of what is found in Chapter 3. Please refer to Chapter 3 for a more comprehensive analysis of agency, as it conventionally and more radically understood within the social sciences and particularly Actor-Network Theory.  102  itself relational. Cougars would not have failed to be counted and encountered if there were no scientists to attempt the counting, no cameras to fail to photograph them, no pie plates and laboratory-concocted urine scent for them to ignore. In other words, if there had been no entities in the WCSC, if the collective had not existed at all, then the cougars would not have had any effect. All of the entities in the WCSC formed the network within which action was produced, even if the cougars ultimately failed to join the network. The network was assembled in order to recruit cougars and when they failed to be recruited they created conflict. They disturbed the desired narrative and outcome when they did not “concede” to be recruited into the WCSC (Latour 1987). But their role was only possible given the existence of other embodied entities in the WCSC, entities with whom cougar bodies generally failed to “enter into combination” (Braun 2008; also McCormack 2005). This was not always the case. There were moments wherein cougar bodies did enter into combination within other bodies in the WCSC. For example, the dense underbrush of PRNPR necessitates the enrolment of a dog instead of a helicopter to track cougars. The dog Carson, trained to distinguish cougar poop from the infinite other mounds of manure strewn throughout the landscape, finds some vancouverensis droppings. The human researchers follow his triumphant barks and, wearing gloves, scrape the scat into a container. The container is sent through space to a laboratory, within which another human researcher uses a dissecting scope – another agent of directing relational action – to determine that the cougar had recently consumed a harbour seal – a surprise to the scientists. The final bit of information that can then be communicated by email, on paper, by word of mouth – cougars do eat harbour seals – has been produced within an extensive network of entities, all of which had the potential anywhere along the way to fail to be enrolled in the network. In the same way, if cougars had been captured on cameras, if the scientists had seen dozens of cougars navigating hiking trails, if there had been piles of poop to poke through, if cougar DNA surfaced in the scat, then the resultant information – how many cougars were in the park, their favourite routes – would have been generated within these same relations, but relations that were re-aligned so as to stabilise and take on a semi-durable form. This leads me to conclude with a consideration of how relational agency and the WCSC are suggestive of a different way of thinking about knowledge generation and the practice of science. If agency is relational, if cougars are considered actors in the WCSC but only insofar as there is a network in relation to which cougars can act, then Haraway (1989, 310) was right almost two decades ago when she insisted that “animals are material-semiotic actors… [,] 103  active participants in the constitution of what may count as scientific knowledge. Animals resist, enable, disrupt, engage, constrain, and display the production of scientific knowledge. They act and signify, and like all action and signification, theirs yield no unique, unequivocal, unconstructed “facts” waiting to be collected.” Generally, however, as Haraway (1991, 197-199) argues, “any status of agent in the production of knowledge… [is] denied the object.” Typically, cougars, pie plates and cameras are not considered agents in the production of knowledge. What Haraway is working towards are “situated knowledges”, which “require that the object of knowledge be pictured as an actor and an agent.” In this articulation of knowledge, “accounts of a "real! world do not… depend on a logic of "discovery! but on a power-charged social relation of "conversation!. The world neither speaks for itself nor disappears in favor of a master decoder. The codes of the world are not still, waiting only to be read… We are not in charge of the world.” Cougars could not be counted. Instead, what little knowledge about them that was generated was accomplished through a conversation, a reading/writing. The notion of a conversation between the members of the WCSC can be expanded upon by enlisting work by Barad (2003, 829), who, in the quote that opens this chapter, concludes that practices of knowing do not only involve humans “because knowing is a matter of part of the word making  itself intelligible to another part” [emphasis added]. In other words, scientific practice is a morethan-human endeavour not merely because other entities are used in the practice, but because gaining knowledge depends upon the object of knowledge, the tools of knowledge generation, and the seeker of knowledge aligning as actors in a network and sensing each other. An implication of what Haraway and Barad point to here is the impossibility of recording and constructing objective and external “facts” about the objects of scientific knowledge, or of counting these objects, because these objects are actually not objects at all. They are subjects, actors, and they shape the knowledge that is generated. Cougars! recalcitrances shape and constrain the development of experimentation (Gooding 1992) and the practice of science. The WildCoast project could never generate an objective and empirical cougar count, and the scientists to whom I spoke admit, along the lines of Beck et al. (2005, 44), that “even the most diligent researcher probably fails to detect some transients and a resident cougar”. But what WC scientists learned as their study progressed was a different type of limitation, something that went beyond a statistical margin of error. They learned that their own bodily capabilities and the bodily form of cougars rendered their initial goal unfeasible. They were unable to separate themselves from that which they were trying to investigate. “We are a part of that nature that we seek to understand”, says Barad (2007, 26); “scientific practices must therefore be understood 104  as inter-actions among component parts of nature… Our ability to understand the world hinges on our taking account of the fact that our knowledge making practices are social-material enactments that contribute to, and are part of, the phenomenon we describe”. Knowledge production is “always materialised through human bodies and nonhuman objects… [Knowledge] is the outcome of embodied practices” (Barnes 2004, 570). The WC scientists – and indeed the entirety of the WCSC – were “involved in interventions in the making of realities rather than unveiling truths about the world” (White and Wilbert 2006, 101). This is possible because “realities are enacted, rather than pregiven, and are therefore not fixed or singular… It follows that there can be debates and struggles over which realities to enact and that these struggles will involve assemblages of human and nonhumans (Hinchcliffe and Whatmore 2006, 125). Even if an “official” count of cougars had been produced by the WCSC, it would have been a reflection, a translation, or a particular enacted reality that was a complex entanglement of humans, cougars, devices, landscapes, and other animals. This is the way that science operates. Knowing, then, is an embodied process of relating within the world, of becoming entangled and deciphering these entanglements. Whether these entanglements are between cougars and carpets, or Sasquatches and scientists, knowledge is partly an outcome of the capacities of bodies to sense and to be sensed (Braun 2008, 671; Lorimer 2006). Thrift (2004, 61) follows Spinoza in stating that “knowing proceeds in parallel with the body!s physical encounters, out of interaction.” Knowing is “a direct material engagement, a practice of intra-acting with the world as part of the world in its dynamic material configuring, its ongoing articulation” (Barad 2007, 379). Hinchliffe and Whatmore (2006, 136) draw on Stengers (1997) and Latour (2004) to suggest that “knowledge is [sic] a co-fabrication in which all those (humans and nonhumans) enjoined in it can, and do, affect each other in the knowledge event or practice.” Knowledge production, then, contradicts the neat categories of social/natural into which purveyors of the modern constitution would have us believe our world fits. Neither purely natural nor purely cultural, knowledge is gained in conversations within socionatures, where species meet – or not. The escalation of cougar-human interaction in PRNPR illustrated earlier by Graph 5.1 is a testament to the lively and unpredictable specificities of being – which is always a “becoming with” (Haraway 2008) – Puma concolor vancouverensis, and to the equally lively and creative material entanglements that constitute human being/becoming. The ex-/in-clusions that mark park space will, like the bounded backyards of Sooke, always be contested by the myriad other creatures with which humans share environments, environments that are fundamentally “zones 105  of entanglements” (Ingold 2008). The WildCoast scientists! attempts to enrol cougars into their scientific practices, with the assistance of multiple devices of interessement, failed because cougars did not relate as expected with the scientists and the devices. The WCSC never fully stabilised, in large part because the cougars, the entities that were instrumental to the project, were not enrolled into the network. This failure to stabilise could only occur insofar as there was a wider assemblage of entities set to form the network – the members of the WCSC. Cougars are actors, but they can only act in relation to others. Cougars! role in the WCSC demonstrates that agency and action are fundamentally, and precariously, relational. Perhaps above all, then, cougars in PRNPR and the WildCoast study, and cougars in Sooke, encourage us to remember that “humans are not alone in the world; they are entangled with other bodies that have their own, emergent specificities” (Hinchliffe 2000, 235). WildCoast demonstrates that humans are not the only beings involved in the production of knowledge; they are not the only beings capable of making a difference in the world; and agency – the capacity to bring about change – is not the sole domain of humans.  106  Chapter 6. Conclusions: accounting for the uncountable It comes down to maintaining a healthy space and a healthy respect for animals (Hansen 2006)  Until my late teens, I was sure that as a four year old, I saw a cougar jump across Sooke River Road, clearing both lanes of pavement in one fluid leap. The memory was vivid: it was dusk and I watched the cougar from a car seat in the back of my family!s old Valiant. The cat flew out of the trees, soared several feet above the road, and disappeared into the bushes on the other side. Its outstretched body was as long as a single lane. It was a creature from another world, but another world that existed alongside mine and my family!s. I can still picture the cougar now, years after being told that I had fabricated the entire recollection. My uncle had once seen one jump over Humpback Road, but I had not even been born yet. It is a made up memory. Yet it continues to be meaningful. It reminds me that animal lives are being lived out in parallel with human ones everyday. Animal-human entanglements are all around us; indeed, they constitute our existence. The made up cougar memory undoubtedly motivated the questions I have asked in this thesis. How do cougars matter to life on Vancouver Island? How might this mattering be characterised? How might it be researched and written about? To explore these questions, I drew on recent theoretical work in posthumanism, Actor Network Theory, and more-than-human geography to find out how cougars are enrolled in two different types of production: the production of space in Sooke, and the production of knowledge in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The first part of this final chapter reviews the main conclusions of this project by chapter. The remainder is dedicated to reflecting on both my impressions of my research at this final stage, and possible directions for future research, focused around the ethical implications of the sort of analysis I undertook in this thesis. The context for subsequent analysis and discussion was established in Chapters 2 and 3, which addressed topical and theoretical contexts respectively. Chapter 2 introduced the animal most commonly known as “cougar” or Puma concolor. This section delivered key biophysiological information about cougars and background information about Vancouver Island. I argued that one of the most dominant ways humans have perceived cougars on Vancouver Island – animals I call, after their now defunct sub-species name, vancouverensis – has been through efforts to order them into classification systems. These classifications can be scientific, namely within a biological taxonomy, or governmental, within policy systems that label particular 107  groups of animals according to their perceived role with society and the landscape. I showed how vancouverensis moved dynamically through these classifications, pointing to the always incomplete and partial nature of classifying. I also highlighted the consequences that classifications have for cougars, particularly classifications within government policy. Cougars shifted from “vermin” to “game” to “wildlife” in governmental policy classifications according to wider trends in how cougars are perceived by humans. These classifications sanction some ways of treating cougars and discourage others. Chapter 3 moved to a theoretical context for subsequent chapters. I began by briefly reviewing the “animal turn” in human geography and the social sciences, and then elaborated upon the themes of space and agency. I looked in particular at how geographers have come to understand these concepts in light of recent work in Actor Network Theory and posthumanist analysis. Both agency and space, I argued, are produced within heterogeneous networks of entities. These entities include anything from ideas to objects to animals to humans. Networks are dynamic, always shifting, never complete, and are complex and messy. Entities become enrolled in networks that produce space and agency and occasionally if enrolment is successful and all entities assemble within the network, a degree of stability is achieved and outcomes are produced. The most important point is any entity can make a difference to the shape and performance of the network, not just humans. The production of space was taken up in Chapter 4, which traced a case study of cougar-human conflict in Sooke, a small rural-suburban town on southern Vancouver Island where cougars and humans often share space very uneasily. I suggested that one of the most common shared cougar-human spaces is the backyard, defined loosely as private, outdoor domestic space. Backyard spaces are produced, I argued, through boundary-making practices that draw on heterogeneous networks of humans. These boundary-making practices are driven by a desire for biosecurity, or safe life. The lives that the boundaries are meant to keep safe are generally those of humans, pets and livestock. When cougars, who are enrolled in their own networks with their own corresponding spatial configurations, enter into backyard spaces, they enrol themselves in the backyard network of entities and thereby reconfigure the space of the backyard. The backyard becomes insecure, unsafe. Remaking the porous boundaries between cougar space and backyard space draws upon yet another network of entities, what I called the biosecurity brigade. This brigade, composed of Conservation Officers, guns, dogs, and multiple other entities, usually destroys the cougar. COs can thus be seen as border guards, policing the  108  species boundary. Ultimately, the chapter argued that the production of backyard space is relational. It occurs within networks of entities. Similarly, the agency and the production of knowledge occur within networks of humans, animals, and multiple objects, as I argued in Chapter 5, which engaged with theories of relational agency to explore cougars! role in the production of knowledge. WildCoast, a scientific study of cougars carried out in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, essentially revolved around counting and encountering cougars. Because of the dense forested landscape in PRNPR, counting and encountering cougars had to occur by tracking cougars! signs of passage, material traces that cougars leave on the landscape as evidence of their previous presence. In undertaking these counts, scientists assembled a network of entities I referred to as the WildCoast Scientific Collective. Members of the collective included everything from a dog to “urine”-smeared carpets. Scientists and these other entities – “devices of interessement” (Callon (1986) designed to attract cougars – were unable to enrol cougars into the collective. The extent to which cougars and their traces were countable and encounterable to WildCoast scientists depended upon scientists! ability to sense cougars, or more accurately their traces. They had to learn to “read” cougar writing. This sense-ability was, in turn, limited by the “ecological charisma” (Lorimer 2007) of cougars: the intersection of cougars! bio-physiological characteristics and humans! own bio-physiologies. Technological aids and practiced skills could enhance scientists! ability to track cougars! signs of passage, but ultimately cougars destabilised the WCSC. This chapter demonstrated the relational, embodied production of knowledge, a material engagement with the world. Ultimately, what this thesis sought to establish is how cougars matter to the social fabric of life on Vancouver Island. I found that cougars are key actors in the production of space and  knowledge. In multiple ways, their presences and absences inflect, enable, and disrupt human attempts to generate knowledge and produce safe spaces. This is a critical point with significant ethical implications. In light of the more than human constitution and production of space and agency, how might ethical communities be expanded to account for more than just humans? If agency is relational and spatial processes are practiced over and with nonhuman animals, how might ethics and ethical responsibilities be reconceptualised? The world is a place “where species meet and mingle” (Davies and Lorimer 2008), where we are confronted with difference – not necessarily face-to-face but through traces, signs of passage, and by reading nonhuman writings. There is great possibility in these confrontations if we tune into them. Responsibility – the ability to respond – can grow within and after the encounter (Popke 2008). Researchers, too, 109  can enhance their ability to respond – their responsibility – through their research encounters. I now reflect on my research, specifically with respect to what my responsibilities and the tensions I experience between my personal expectations of what research can and should do and what research has actually done. I conclude with suggesting directions for future research. There was still snow on the ground in early spring this year when a female cougar was found lying lifeless beside a small patch of pastureland near Kemp Lake, in Sooke. Her body showed no signs of illness or injury and she was nowhere near old age. Conservation Officers were stumped. Shortly after, a necroscopic examination revealed that the cougar suffered from  Feline panleukopenia, more commonly known as feline distemper, a viral disease with which she had likely become afflicted after eating an infected housecat.1 Concerns were raised that her two orphaned kittens, spotted about the area, might also be infected with the virus. When one of the cubs was beaten off a Kemp Lake woman!s small dog with a broom and then ostensibly set up residence in her backyard with its sibling, Conservation Officers were notified and arrived to shoot the pair. Post-humous examinations revealed that the kittens were diseasefree, but this realisation was inconsequential, as the kittens! aggressive behaviour towards domestic animals had already rendered them ineligible for relocation. They had become killable. Only two months later, another cougar trio of mother and kittens made their presence known in the Kemp Lake region when they honed their predatory skills on a herd of twelve sheep, all of which died. COs were once again called to the scene and destroyed the family. My best friend lives on Kemp Lake and kept me up to speed about all of this activity, so I was not completely ignorant of the goings on when not long after, my mother called to give me the phone number of a family friend, Heather, who lives on Kemp Lake in Sooke. Heather heard I was doing graduate work on cougars and had some questions for me. Heather and many other Kemp Lake residents were distraught. Too many cougars were dying in the community (Heather 2009). Heather wanted to know if I was available to talk to her about other options for resolving cougar-human conflict in her neighbourhood. She also asked if I would write an “expert” article on cougars for the Rural Observer, a local newsletter. Was I not doing an MA thesis on cougars, she asked? What exactly was my thesis about? I mumbled something that felt incoherent about philosophy, science and ethics, and told Heather that her questions were probably better directed at the Conservation Officer Service. I would happy to speak with them on her behalf, I told her. But the beginnings of an intellectual existential crisis  1  The housecat was most likely a stray, because pet cats are generally vaccinated against panleukopenia.  110  were stirring. What was I doing all of this work for if not to be able to at least begin to respond to the exact questions that Heather was asking me? Was I not searching for answers to similar questions: what needs to happen for humans to kill less cougars? What are the alternatives to shooting cougars? My existing research seemed ineffectual, immaterial. Who cared about how cougars were significant actors in networks of entities that produce space and science on Vancouver Island? Was it not more important to come up with concrete solutions to cougarhuman conflict? Even as I write these questions I am not totally convinced of the merits of the sort of analysis I undertook in this thesis. Not totally convinced. More explicit political questions need to be asked. But at the same time most humans have core assumptions about the world, assumptions of human exceptionalism, mastery, and control, that determine the sort of political questions that are asked. These assumptions are deeply flawed and problematic. They structure the conditions within which cougars are “made killable.” They enable humans to move through the world with little regard for the multiple other creatures with which they are surrounded. These assumptions allow humans to labour under the illusion that we are each tidily bounded, discrete units independent of the infinite relations that constitute us. A relational, posthuman analysis, such as I sought to carry out in this thesis, calls these assumptions into question. If knowledge, space, and agency are produced within networks of entities that are not all human, if entities do not pre-exist their relating, if interactions are more accurately described as intraactions, then the current hegemony of “the individual” in our societal, ethical and political frameworks is inadequate. Initially, I hoped to spend part of this thesis discussing in detail the ethical implications of a relational understanding of the world, particularly with respect to cougars. There are some scholars who have begun to articulate what a new ethics based on a relational understanding could look like. There are more scholars whose analyses stop after making the point that the world comes into being through networks of relations. This points to a crucial need, I think, for more research on the ethical consequences of relational thinking. Unfortunately, this will have to wait for another thesis. For reasons of space, I can only review here my main conclusions and then point briefly to directions for future research. Few scholars explore the ethical implications of relationality.2 I agree with Whatmore (2002), Braun (2008) and others: it is not enough to merely open up the realm of agency to 2  Notable exceptions include Whatmore (1997; 2002, Chapter 7), Jones (2000), Jones and Cloke (2002), Castree (2003b), Haraway (2003; 2008), Popke (2003; 2008) Robbins (2005), Barad (2007); Fox and McLean (2008).  111  more than just humans. This move must also be accompanied by ethical and political projects that build upon such a reconfigured notion of agency. Once the world is recognised as an assortment of protean, dynamic assemblages of humans and nonhumans, intra-acting to achieve agency and to perform space, how can ethics be conceived of as belonging to atomic individuals? Acknowledging nonhuman agency makes clear that “dreams of mastery… are the height of hubris” (Braun 2008, 676), and is a reminder that “life is never simply a-life, but a being-with” (677). What is needed, relational agency reminds us, is an ethical language, community and imagination that begins not with the “individual” of liberalism, but the “being-with” or “being-in-common” that Nancy (2000) locates at the centre of existence (Braun and McCarthy 2005). In other words, rethinking agency and space to account for nonhuman actors and beingsin-relation is intimately tied to a simultaneous rethinking of ethics – at once introducing humility and relationality into the ethical framework. Cougars force us to confront “an existence that refuses to be conceptualised” (Derrida 2008, 9). My research in Chapter 5 suggests this is also an existence that cannot be captured or reduced to empirical counts. Another avenue for future research, then, would ask how a relational ethics would account for those beings that we cannot count. In other words, how do we account for the uncountable? We can begin, says Whatmore (2002, 33), by no longer reducing “ethical questions about what counts to empirical questions about what can be counted”. The WildCoast study illustrates that cougars may not be countable, but they certainly count. Their absence-presence is central to the production of knowledge. Ethics is therefore “about responsibility and accountability for the lively relationalities of becoming of which we are a part” (Barad 2007, 393; Haraway 2008). Ethical formations, argue Jones and Cloke (2002, 108) “must correspond to relational formations that perform the world”. The future directions for such research are clear. More importantly, they are critical. Predatorial and elusive, cougars embody the difference and secrecy of nonhuman life. Cougars are dynamic, unpredictable, and largely unknowable creatures. But they entangle with us in multiple ways. They matter inestimably to the constitution of natureculture on Vancouver Island and beyond. While out of sight is sometimes out of mind, as Barad concedes (2007, 394), it is “not necessarily out of reach.” We thus need a “politics of conviviality that is serious about the heterogeneous company and the messy business of living together” (Hinchliffe and Whatmore 2006, 134). “We are in a knot of species co-creating each other”, writes Haraway (2008, 42). “Response and respect are possible only in those knots, with actual animals and people looking back at each other”. She is right, but I wonder if response and respect are also 112  possible in the material absence of the nonhuman other, by becoming humble in the position of not-knowing, of being-in-relation (Nancy 2000) in a more-than-human world (Whatmore 2002). Recognising the secrets of those we do not see but with which we are entangled is part of becoming responsive and responsible in our treatment of other creatures that matter to the constitution of the social, material world. At times it might seem a daunting task. 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