Tuesday, 11 August 2009

It's not Disney - A Lesson On Animal Treatment

I always wonder why people treat wild animals like they're from some kind of full length Disney animated feature, where the wildlife is always tame, friendly, and possesses an affinity for speech and altruism. Where they're predictable.

And you can get as close to them as you like because they're not dangerous and are smart enough to know you mean no harm and just want a better picture and of course they have no problem understanding that and obliging you like they can read your mind. They're so predictable.

Here's what happens to you when you think that way.

A tragic story that took place over a year ago. A visitor to the Guwahati zoo, perhaps awash in ignorance and overconfidence, crossed the barrier to the tiger enclosure and put his hand through the cage to get a better picture of the tigers there. The tigers then attacked him, severing his hand, which led to his death. All in the presence of his family. Now why did he have to do something like that? Simple, he believed that nothing would happen to him, that the tigers would just sit there posing for him.

News flash people - wild animals remain wild - no matter how long they spend around humans. Plucking a creature from the wild and putting it in a zoo doesn't domesticate it. It remains wild, with all it's wild habits, like wanting to protect it's territory, intact.

The same goes for animals born in a zoo. The fact that they've been born and hand raised there doesn't make them any less territorial. They will still attack you if they perceive you as an enemy infringing on their territory. This goes for all cute and cuddly animals as well. Even herbivores.

Farm animals attack their owners if they feel they pose a threat to their new offspring. And those hand reared offspring will later attack their owners if they perceive a similar threat to their offspring.

Animals in game safaris have been known to attack visitors who get too close. Some visitors believe that just because a creature's used to jeeps getting close, that it won't attack them. But sooner or later, one of them is proved wrong, the fallout usually being varying degrees of blood loss.

People just don't get it that in the animal kingdom, what you see is not what you get. Just because a creature looks harmless doesn't make it any less likely to kill you in an instant if it feels like it. You cannot predict animal behaviour by thinking of it in terms of human behaviour. Just because an animal looks cute and cuddly doesn't mean you can pet or touch it.

Here's a list of animal incidents in supposedly safe controlled conditions.

The lesson to take away from this is that all animals are unpredictable, even your pet dog and cat, to some extent. So don't make a fool of yourself and end up hurt or missing an appendage or worse.


Shocked gamekeeper runs for his life from three ton hippo

19/Nov/09: Caged circus tiger bites off man's fingers


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