Pondering the Challenge of Non-Interference with Animals
(05/16/16 adding more thoughts)
I’m processing some troubled thoughts (what else is new with me; of course there’d be troubled thoughts) relative to my recent fascination with Wild Earth South African Safaris. As always, my thoughts are those of a “layman” of observation and feeling, more than derived from some program of academia (because that’s just how I roll).
But first, I must say I am profoundly grateful that there are just enough people in South Africa that made the decision and have the ability to protect vast sections of land for Animals. Without their protective actions, the whole of the Natural majesty of the land would be lost probably forever or as long as Earth and Her supportive systems might yet live on. As well, I’m deeply thankful that places like Djuma Lodge and Animal Park broadcast twice daily live Safari Drives with wonderfully knowledgeable Guides and which people from all over the world can virtually ride along.
On to my trouble thought, however. Numerous times visitors (both virtual and probably in person as well) have asked questions along the lines of ‘if there’s a baby or injured animal, would [the park] help it?’ And, on queue, the answer is essentially the same, ‘No, because we don’t want to interfere with nature.’
Well I have a bit of a confusion with this non-interference stance. Aside of the usual sentimental effect of the Aww! factor, I think there’s legitimate grounds to interfere.
Some tens of thousands of years ago the hominids, our Ancestors, were competitors against the Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Hyena and many others when we decided we Human Animals liked meat, too. Had we had remained only competitors, I could possibly subscribe to the concept of non-interference mainly because competition is a part of the law of Nature.
But us Humans didn’t settle for being just competitors. We advanced our abilities and ourselves to becoming incredible destroyers of vast numbers of Animals for all manner of reasons that have little to do with keeping ourselves fed or safe. We killed thousands for “pretty” furs, “good luck” tokens of certain body parts, and because we simply didn’t like certain Animals based on old Ancestral memories that either never did or no longer applied.
Using the Cheetah as just one example here, at around the year 1900 or so there were about 100,000 Cheetah. By 1980 population was down to 25,000 and today there are maybe 10,000 or so left. The numbers are scary and tragic. Those few that are left have apparently reached their genetic end because evidently there’s too little population to support genetic diversity. That is to say that if a disease were to afflict one Cheetah, there’s no longer sufficient genetic diversity to protect the rest of the remaining population and the species of Cheetah would disappear. Much of the loss of their numbers is due to humans killing them off for various reasons like livestock ranches, trophy hunters and so on. We cannot correctly say as some have that the Cheetah have just simply reached the end of their particular branch of the tree of evolution; we pushed them to that end.
Because we Humans have absolutely and generally directly contributed to the decimation of thousands of Animals, how can we disallow our responsibility now to those few Animals left by way of using the non-interference clause? I don’t know that we really can or (depending on the ethics one brings to bear) should.
That said, I believe the ~real~ driving force behind the non-interference clause has little to do with Nature or any non-human Animals. Being our world is an economically driven world, I believe much action or inaction boils down to profitability. That is to say, it’s expensive to care and provide for Animals. Struggling under the yoke and chain of economics the same as most everyone else on the Planet, I certainly can appreciate the challenge of expense. However, because it likely is a matter of finances, then it is up to us, who would and do care for Animals, both domesticated and wild, to find and leverage the ways to make it profitable or at least affordable to save these beings.
I believe (or maybe just hope) that we can find those ways to be helpfully profitable. One way I can think of off the top of my head is to chip-in on these Safari Drives. Just voluntarily give a few coins for a Drive for, if no other reason, just to say Thank You. We could also create technology where Virtual Tourism could be even more enjoyably immersive and “rent” those virtual rides. Or maybe there could be online fundraisers or something.
The lodges and parks over there share a certain percentage of their profits with the “Game Land” Nature Preserves, so the money system is already in place at least to protect the current space of land and Animals that presently inhabitant those lands. I say “over there” but these concerned thoughts of course apply globally however not every region has these percentage systems in place, though they most certainly could.
We need though to let it be known to and help the “right” people set aside the non-interference clause and help those surviving Animals overcome and survive the effects we humans have in fact and directly put upon them.
I believe the various Parks’ staff care very much about the Animals and I’m certain it bothers their hearts and minds as much as anyone else to see any Animal suffer or perish, or even worse witness the end of an entire species. As intelligent and knowledgeable of the land and Animals as many of the Guides appear to be, it seems rather likely they wouldn’t entirely buy into the non-interference clause either.
Rather than using the non-interference clause, which mathematically doesn’t really apply, it would be more honest and understandable to go with the expense reasoning. Fortunately, there are many human animals today that know the non-interference clause doesn’t work, taking into honest consideration the impact human animals have had and continue to have on all the Animals and ecosystems.
Not even the “survival of the fittest” concept really works here anymore either. Didn’t hunters often go after the biggest and best “trophies,” effectively slaughtering the fittest of the Animals?
If we understand the Earth to be one absolutely interconnected system, each piece within the system affecting all the others, then it would appear obvious that we do have a responsibility and in fact a need to help those few population of Animals we have left to meager and unnaturally limited existences. Because we depend on all the systems of the Earth to continue to provide for our survival, actually to be honest, it appears that we Humans cannot afford the non-interference clause. If we care, and I believe more and more of us do care, then we need to find helpful, responsible ways ~to~ interfere and ultimately help our Animal Kin, Mother Earth and ourselves to continue to survive.
p.s. The Hyena have captured my fascination and a fair bit of my heart of late. I have come to see these Animals as beautiful and precious. So to those who do not appreciate the Hyena, I say well pfft! 🙂