Wildlife, Humanity, and Television

Wildlife is fine, until humans decide to butt in. Battered by humans over the millennia, even today, it is the self-appointed preservationists who are adding to the damage their ancestors have caused to wildlife. I crave leave to expand later.

My first objection is to our humans’ definitions of “intelligence”, and closely allied is our way of trying to judge everybody and everything, by our own wonky standards. I was looking at a group of so-called scientists studying the intelligence level in monkeys. They had managed to procure a few hapless creatures to justify their own employment, but that’s another story. Monkeys were asked to put colored square pegs in square holes and round ones in round and triangular ones in triangular ones, and so on. The monkeys who were able to do it were labeled as ‘having the intelligence of a three-year-old human’. There was no mention about the monkeys who could not accomplish this Einsteinian feat (other futile exercises monkeys have been subjected to include finding a hidden marble, or pressing appropriate areas of a touch-screen), or who merely considered us humans too stupid to oblige by doing an act which was of no consequence to them.

Now, let’s examine the flip side.

Let’s have a group of monkeys catch hold of a few full-grown humans and put them to the test to see how well these humans can leap from tree to tree. Obviously, the humans will fail miserably, by monkey standards. Now, the monkeys should conclude that even as adults, humans do not possess the skills of even a baby monkey. Now, these scientists will argue that this would be a test of physical skill, as opposed to mental skill. OK. Let the most physically competent human athlete try and come even close to what a monkey can achieve in the branches. Similarly, are these scientists trying to say that trapeze artistes do not require any mental skills to perform their feats?

In short, we humans declare any species whose language or behaviour we can’t understand as unintelligent. The fact is that we are too stupid to be able to understand them. They get along just fine without us, and have been doing so for millions of years before us; we can’t get along without them – at the most elementary level, what will we do for food, if animals cease to exist in all their designated forms?!

We humans have ruthlessly destroyed most of the habitat of wild animals. We are responsible for their destruction – and we humans are such hypocrites (or, troubled by our consciences) that we are now declaring certain species as endangered and are trying to ‘protect’ them. To add insult to injury, our TV ads never talk about looking after animals for their love, but only so that we save ourselves from destruction if these animals are not allowed to perish. Oh, the selfish irony!

Again, there a such a lot of hype being created about preservation of wildlife and stopping cruelty to animals, but I think that’s reserved for the big cats, crocs, bears and other larger, or, more exotic animals. Else, what in the world can explain a large ear being grown on the back of a mouse? Or, other terrible drugs being tried out, legally and surreptitiously, on all kinds of animals, in the name of science? Luring killer sharks with decoys to measure the strength of their bite? How stupid can humans get?

It is said that cell phones carried near the heart (in the breast pocket) is harmful for humans. Aren’t radio transmitters that are fitted to animals the same thing? Add to that the inconvenience of having something artificial strapped to an animal, especially in the wild, where every little bit counts for survival – I mean, most creatures have done away with unnecessary appendages not essential to their survival, if Darwin’s theories have any bit of truth in them – why then burden the poor animals with a radio collar? Further, could not the radio signals be affecting the way they communicate or navigate, since many of the methods of communication between animals is unknown to us even now? The electricity and magnetism these collars would generate are sure to have some impact. Worst of all is that of late “critter-cams” have come into vogue. An even larger appendage and even more signals! These scientists claim to love and respect animals – what about the animals’ rights to privacy? I say it’s all hogwash. The truth is these scientists care more about their livelihoods than the “critters”. And they go ahead and endanger the very lives they claim to have “reintroduced to the wild”. I can’t understand this kind of love.

If scientists wish to study animals, let them do it without interfering with them or handling them in any way. For all one knows, mass slaughter of animals may have been passed on from the hunters of yore to these scientists who are pretending to be concerned about nature and the planet. They will argue that the numbers of certain animals are increasing. Who has permitted these scientists to play this numbers game with nature? Fellas, their numbers are increasing not because of you, but in spite of you. Legislation that bans killing of wildlife is the only thing humans are capable of doing to help animals; let them make no mistake about their other imagined capabilities.

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