Bernhard Grzimek and the Bavarian Forest National Park

Bavarian Forest: Trees affected by the bark beetle

Another article has been accepted for publication in the context of the ‘Corridor Talk’ project! Graham Huggan’s short piece focuses on the work of the German ‘celebrity conservationist’, Bernhard Grzimek, situating it in the context of historical and contemporary debates about the political and ecological importance of national parks.

Grzimek’s role in the creation of Bavarian Forest National Park may not be as well-known as his public ministrations on behalf of the wild animals of the Serengeti, but in several ways his work in and for these two national parks, engaging with the fraught politics of the period, was intertwined. The article looks at some of these overlaps, using them to make the case for national parks as complex geopolitical formations in which human and animal interests alternately collide and converge. It also makes the case for national parks as multi-scalar entities that need to be understood – politically and ecologically – in both local and global, both national and transnational terms.

Finally, it cites the multiple roles of Grzimek to re-examine the ambivalent role of the celebrity conservationist as a media spokesperson and publicity-conscious advocate for the world’s wildlife. The article will appear in the Fall issue of the European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment, Ecozon@.

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