A trans-species and sensory ethnography of human-shark (Selachimorpha) connections.
WHY RESEARCH SHARKS THROUGH AN ANTHROZOOLOGICAL LENS?
Many shark species are on the edge of extinction. It is argued that conservation
efforts require a positive public perception of sharks. However, public perceptions of
sharks are often that of mindless ‘man-eaters’ and research shows the general
public’s shark knowledge is low. Conversely, the economy of global shark
watching ecotourism increases annually as does the number of recreational scuba
divers participating in the activity. Furthermore, a number of scuba divers have
developed intimate, endearing relationships with sharks. These diver ‘shark listeners’
have come to know sharks as individuals, with an evolving interest in the lives and
deaths of the sharks they befriend. The aim of this research is to address how these
interspecies connections help to change perceptions of sharks, by conducting
a sensory, trans-species ethnography. Ultimately, this research will fulfil the role of
documenting these unique human-shark relationships, unearthing whether such
relationships can change the perception of sharks. In addition, this research will
contribute to the understanding of the complex and delicate nature of sharks through
an anthrozoological lens.
SHARKS ARE UNDER THREAT, AS INDIVIDUALS AND POPULATIONS
SHARK PORTRAYAL AS MAN-EATERS PERSISTS
ARE NEW PERCEPTIONS POSSIBLE?
CAN THIS LEAD TO MORE SHARK PROTECTION, AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS POPULATIONS?
Saudi Arabian Feline Lives and Communities
Autoethnographic and Qualitative Studies of Feline Lives in Saudi Arabia
Domestic cats are ubiquitous in Saudi Arabia (KSA). They live in the streets, in homes, are bred, frequently traded and often abandoned. Many do not thrive in the streets, simply survive and many perish once abandoned. As Saudi Arabia opens its doors to tourism and social media gives a platform to sellers, rescuers and relinquishers alike, the domestic cat landscape in KSA is receiving increased attention from various stakeholders. Labouring in the Saudi Arabian rescue world for seventeen years and founding one of the first legal animal welfare charities in KSA, has given me and my research a unique insight into why cats are relinquished and often abandoned in KSA.
My MA Anthrozoology dissertation research offers strategies to improve the feline landscape for all stakeholders, especially the marginalised feline population. I am seeking to positively impact the lives of cats and humans residing in Saudi Arabia by presenting my findings, in the hope of engaging in further dialogue with stakeholders interested in Saudi Arabian cat welfare. My aim is to drastically and ethically improve the lives of street-living cats by focusing upon the lived experience of these cats regardless of their origin.