Accepted Paper:

Hong Kong as a sentinel for Avian Flu: the role of birdwatchers  


Frédéric Keck (Musée du quai Branly)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will examine the transformations of the activities of the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society by the mobilization on Avian Flu.

Paper long abstract:

Since 1997, Hong Kong has ben described as the "sentinel" where flu viruses emerge on birds before spreading to pigs and humans, causing a possible pandemic. How does this catastrophic identification transform the role of birdwatchers ? After complaining for the closure of Mai Po ornithological reserve by the governement, the Hong Kong Birdwatching Society has become a major actor not only in the protection of the environment but also in the surveillance of the Avian population. This paper will examine how norms of surveillance are compatible with naturalistic passions for birds. It will also ask how the mobilization on Avian Flu can be transported to other forms of environmental threats, such as climate change or species extinction.

Panel W052
Threats on biodiversity: species extinction and sentinel technologies