Act of man

Through destruction we are also squandering opportunities of learning.

‘Give a dog a bad name and hang him for it,’ goes a saying. What it means is that one may unjustly hold a person guilty of offences and then hang him for it. But why use the word ‘dog’ where ‘man’ is more relevant? One reason could be that it is easy to saddle dumb and defenseless creatures with attributes they do not possess.

Recent reports, for instance, tell us that ’23 rogue elephants will be captured’. But who in reality are the rogues – the humans who are steadily encroaching into their habitat or the hungry elephants who, desperate for food, emerge out of the forests? matter.

Lawrence Anthony is a legend in South Africa. He dedicated himself to saving wildlife and rehabilitating elephants. He died on March 7, 2012. Two days later, wild elephants led by two matriarchs, showed up at his residence. They had come to say goodbye to their ‘man-friend’. More herds followed them.

A total of 31 elephants had walked over 112 miles to get to their friend’s home. They stayed for two days and two nights without eating. They then left as quietly as they had arrived. All who witnessed this were struck not only by their supreme intelligence and precise timing but also their profound memory.

The following true account I came across throws considerable light on the strength of what we believe is our power of reasoning. We humans have placed ourselves at the top of creation. But this very ability has led us to conclude that all other animals are lower creatures made especially for our use and exploitation.

We hunt them, eat them, use and abuse them. We subject them to persecution of the worst kind, driving them to extinction, quite unmindful of the dire consequences that this will bring about. Already we see less and less of the beautiful flora and fauna that once surrounded us. Gone is much of the greenery and with it many wonderful animals, birds and smaller creatures. Our surroundings are bereft of colour and charm and have turned drab and polluted.

Through destruction we are also squandering opportunities of learning more and extending our knowledge of living things. These so-called lower creatures possess abilities that we do not. In terms of strength, speed, endurance and a whole host of other qualities, they outshine us. It is only by studying them that we can continue to innovate and create.

But most important of all, we fail to realize that our very survival depends on the survival of other species. We are only part of Nature and do not stand apart from it. To ignore this truth is to invite our own disaster, for the end that ensues will be not an act of god, but an act of Man.

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