Cloning Wild LifeZoos, Captivity, and the Future of Endangered Animals

Cloning Wild LifeZoos, Captivity, and the Future of Endangered Animals

Carrie Friese

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780814729083

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

The natural world is marked by an ever-increasing loss of varied habitats, a growing number of species extinctions, and a full range of new kinds of dilemmas posed by global warming. At the same time, humans are also working to actively shape this natural world through contemporary bioscience and biotechnology. This book posits that cloned endangered animals in zoos sit at the apex of these two trends, as humans seek a scientific solution to environmental crisis. Often fraught with controversy, cloning technologies significantly affect our conceptualizations of and engagements with wildlife and nature. By studying animals at different locations, the book explores the human practices surrounding the cloning of endangered animals. Ultimately, the book concludes that the act of recalibrating nature through science is what most disturbs us about cloning animals in captivity, revealing that debates over cloning become, in the end, a site of political struggle between different human groups. Moreover, the book explores the implications of the social role that animals at the zoo play in the first place—how they are viewed, consumed, and used by humans for our own needs. A unique study uniting sociology and the study of science and technology, the book demonstrates just how much bioscience reproduces and changes our ideas about the meaning of life itself.