Research | Queen’s University Canada

Returning the Gaze

This was taken by Rubén Vargas at the wildlife sanctuary Proyecto Asis in Costa Rica, who captures the most beautiful images of the resident animals. I am standing in front of the capuchin enclosure observing the behaviours of Lulo, Lucy, Soplita, Pablita, and Cappuccino, while guided tours are taking place nearby. It is illegal to own wild animals in Costa Rica; these capuchins have been rescued from their past lives as companion animals or entertainers. While unable to be reintroduced to the wild, they receive life-long care and advocacy in the sanctuary community. My research looks at the intersections of animal welfare and conservation in Costa Rican sanctuaries, which are popular sites of sustainable, captive wildlife tourism. Here, the monkey returns my gaze in this photo, blurring the distinction between researcher and subject; I study him while he studies me.
Submission Year: 
Photographer's affiliation: 
Graduate student
Academic areas: 
Arts and Science
Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs
Art of Research categories: 
Creative and sustainable communities
[Photo of a researcher and a capuchin monkey making eye contact]
PhD student/candidate
Faculty of Arts and Science
School of Environmental Studies
Mobilizing Creativity and Enabling Cultures
Society, Culture and Human Behaviour
Fundamental Principles of Nature: from Discovery to Application and Innovation
Ecology, Biodiversity and the Natural Environment
Location of photograph: 
Proyecto Asis, Costa Rica
Photographer's name: 
Siobhan Speiran
Display Photographers Affiltion + Faculty or Department: 
PhD Student, School of Environmental Studies