Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Intrigued by interethnic cooperation

Pleasingly, we’ve been noticed by other Bloggers in Xinjiang and had a recent review, of sorts, by the interestingly named New Dominion. They give me a bit of a ribbing about my scintillating accounts of FedEx etc (wait ‘til they see the last batteries entry), but also highlight the issue of interethnic cooperation on our project. They appear to give this more weight than I had previously considered. Our team consists of Tajiks, Uygurs, Han Chinese and yours truly. Is this truly unusual? To my mind the only way to conduct this project is with the inclusion of everyone that has an interest, irrespective of ethnicity. Of course, I not SO naïve as to be unaware of the tensions within this region, and I am well aware that conservation IS political in all corners of the world. The politics of conservation cut across many facets, although in our project I have, perhaps wrongly, considered interethnic politics and conservation politics to be operating at different levels. It seems they’re closer than I chose to recognise.

Does this change anything? I don’t know. We will carry on as before, with our (oh alright, my) banal frustrations and expensive cameras (although there’s a certain Chinese farmer I apparently must see about getting some SL photos). We will continue to provide training and support to these communities, so that together we can better understand these animals and deliver effective long lasting conservation measures. I don’t know if I should dare mention that we are also collaborating with similar projects across the border in Pakistan

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