Managing wild minds: From control by numbers to a multinatural approach in wild boar management in the Veluwe, the Netherlands

Susan Boonman-Berson*, Clemens Driessen, Esther Turnhout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Current wildlife management practices rely largely on quantitative data to legitimise decisions, manage human–wildlife conflicts and control wildlife populations. This paper draws attention to the affective relationships between humans and animals inevitably formed in the practice of producing these data. Based on fieldwork that explores wild boar management in the Veluwe, the Netherlands, we demonstrate the significance of these affective encounters. Specifically, we develop an understanding of mindedness that draws on processes of affective learning in wildlife management practices. To understand this mindedness and how it emerges in wild boar management practices, we use the concepts of affect, attunement and animal subjectivities. First, we show how the numero-politics involved in wildlife management presumes animal minds to be static and generically defined by species, and their presence and behaviour to be context independent. Subsequently, we describe the entanglements of humans, wild animals and the landscape, aiming to produce an appreciation of the mutuality that is involved in knowing and conserving wildlife. This, we propose, helps to demonstrate how various – individual or collective – forms of human and non-human mindedness are implicated in management practices but remain invisible and underappreciated in formal accounts. We conclude by explicating a multinatural approach to the management of wildlife that explicitly builds on an acknowledgment of mindedness as a feature of individuals, collectives and landscapes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-15
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Issue number1
Early online date16 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • affective relations
  • human–wildlife relations
  • mindedness
  • Veluwe
  • wild boar
  • wildlife management

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