Nice or Necessary?

Feb 07

Nice or Necessary?

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW A LARGE ANIMAL IN THE WILD that really had an impact on you? How important is it that we create and keep wild spaces for large animals? Is it just nice to have wild animals around, or necessary to our survival? Narrowing that choice down a bit more, is it necessary to our souls or spirits, or just our physical survival?  This Saturday Salon question opens all kinds of discussion doors.

In doing research for my next novel, I am learning about the southern sea otter – where it went and when and if it’s coming back. It got me to thinking about the impact catching a glimpse of a magnificent wild animal thriving in its natural habitat has had on me. I remember a quiet, solitary morning hike interrupted by the thundering of hooves. Not sure what it was, I sort of froze in place and looked around for the source of the noise. A magnificent buck with an impressive spread of antlers and three does had been grazing peacefully on the downhill side of the trail. When I came around the corner, they galloped across the open path to the safety of the thicker forest uphill to my right. In an instant they were gone. They were healthy, strong creatures just doing their thing. I felt lucky to have seen them. It’s not like deer are an endangered species or anything, but still – it was cool.

It is counterintuitive to think that saving large animals means saving ourselves, but it’s important to understand it’s a pragmatic choice, not just a touchy-feely tree-hugger choice. I don’t pretend to be a zoologist or environmental scientist of any kind, but here’s a short and sweet youtube video that explains it simply, using elephants as an example.

Why Protect Large Wild Animals like Elephants?

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