This paper considers how the natural sciences and humanities describe and discuss the biota described as ‘feral’, showing that it is employed differently by the various professionals and researchers. Recognizing that metaphors can colour outcomes for sustainability and for the animals themselves, we have explored the interdisciplinary context that has created this as a pejorative term. Through the lens of history, we explore how ‘feral’ has changed its meaning over time in practical management and research contexts. Specifically, we explore how labeling a species or population or group as feral shapes theoretical and practical aims for scientists, humanists and managers in the present and for the future.

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