It seems that there is a lack of understanding and more than a few misconceptions when it comes to the subject of animals. This article will discuss some of these misconceptions and the realizations that we need to make if we are to avoid deaths and animal attacks. The problem seems to lie in our misconceptions that animals are driven by emotions rather than by pure survival instincts. This causes us to attribute an animal attack to the human emotion of anger or revenge. I know that all people do not hold these misconceptions, which would be presumptuous. What I am saying is that a majority of people do, simply based upon the evidence. The evidence I refer to includes television shows on Discovery, Animal Planet, TNT, etc. It also includes the news media, and even Academia. Again, some shows are guiltier than others, but the fallacies range from the small to the absurd.
The main point the reader needs to take from this article is that animals are animals, driven by basic instincts necessary for their survival. They do not feel anger, jealousy, love, or plot revenge. Although some animals may contain the capacity for these emotions, I doubt those senses are as highly developed or reasoned through as ours seem to be. So, when we attempt to attribute human emotions to animal motivations we are making a silly mistake. We need only try to look at the situation from the animal's point of view. This shouldn't be hard, because we have the ability to reason. We need only attempt to return to a state of mind that we haven't had since we rubbed sticks together and drew on cave walls.The Main Issues:
The tree hugger is as much to blame as the hunter. When a nature lover is attacked brutally by an animal and survives they usually make the statement; "It didn't know what it was doing". This is not true. The animal knew full well what it was doing. They would also make the claim that they should not have put themselves in that situation. That statement actually is true, to an extent. When we venture out into nature we cannot expect that we will not be attacked by a wild animal. What we must expect is that there is a possibility, and we must accept responsibility for this if we are going into the woods anyways.
Animals are finding their natural lands threatened by housing developments, businesses, and other activities that bring human beings into areas where animals
used to roam. Their territory is shrinking. So, when we go out into the woods than it is our responsibility. If a person enters the forest for any reason, and is attacked by an animal, whatever the reason; it's their fault. Why? Because they know in the back of their mind that it is a possibility. If you go into the woods with your children and they are attacked, then it is the parent's fault. Why? Because they knew it was a possibility. You have every right to take the risk, but when and if something bad happens, you can't blame the animal.
There are people out there who believe that animals are of no consequence. The only thing that matters in this world is the human race. If an animal is hit by a car, shot, or killed by anything other than natural means; so what. This is a very ignorant viewpoint to have for one reason. We live in a world that is governed by balance. One thing affects another and if one species disappears it will affect other species. Sometimes it can be in a good way for that species and sometimes it can be in a bad way. If all predatory birds were to go extinct than it would be great for rodents. It would not be so good for whatever the rodents feed upon and it most certainly would not be good for us. Granted some species can go extinct without greatly upsetting the balance of things. It's when multiple extinctions occur that a major problem will arise. These individuals that do not hold animals in high regard, when attacked by animals, usually are quick to anger. That animal attacked me and therefore must die! I doubt that they would even consider the possibility that they bore any responsibility whatsoever for entering the woods that day. The bottom line is that if people enter the woods, we must be aware of the dangers. This goes for any natural environment that we consciously enter, knowing full well that we could be attacked by a bear or a shark.
I will never forget an episode of Worlds Most Amazing Video or maybe it was the Most Extreme, where an elephant was rampaging through the streets of Mexico. If I remember correctly, this elephant was performing in a circus, turned on its trainer (killing him), and then began running through the streets. This elephant ended up being shot to death in the street. I had no problem with that, it was clear the animal had to be taken down. What I did have a problem with was the statement made by the bonehead commentator of the show. He stated, "This is a tragic event, but let's not forget why this was necessary." That may not be his statement word for word, but the point is clear. The elephant had to die because it was a rampaging monster! How ignorant is that? In my opinion that was an extremely ignorant statement that had me cursing out loud at my television set. It is true that the elephant did kill his trainer. It is also true that the elephant was out of control. Why are these the only valid points? Did anyone stop to think that the elephant should not have been there in the first place? Elephants do not belong in circuses and they do not belong in zoos. The only purpose
a zoo should serve is to rehabilitate injured animals or to shelter animals that are endangered.
Animals are wild, the only mistake made in the elephant situation is that "WE", thought we could tame or control this animal. Can we do it? Yes, we can, but should we, NO! Personally, if an animal that is in a zoo or a circus attacks a person then I do not want to hear about it. No sympathy will be found with me. The bottom line is that animals belong in the wild. I do not care how tame or domesticated we think that they are. The chance will always remain that they can attack for reasons that really do not matter. I have a hard enough time trying to figure out why people do some of the things they do. The last thing I want to have to do on a daily basis is try to figure out what an elephant, bear or a shark was thinking.
When I was younger, I went to zoos. The last time I visited a zoo I was 21 years old, and it was at Busch Gardens and Disney's Wild Kingdom. I am 31 years old and I have not been to a zoo since. I will never go to a zoo again simply because I do not believe in them. To take a wild animal and stick it in a cage for our amusement is simply ridiculous. How many of us would like to be stuck in an enclosure, I don't care how natural or comfortable that it is, and then told we can never leave? Not many, but since we are not talking about people than it does not matter. Animals do not belong in cages. They are meant to be out in the wild. So, when we place animals in situations that they instinctually do not belong in then we cannot hold them accountable for their actions. The only people that can be held accountable for animal attacks occurring in zoos or a circus are we. Not just the owner of the zoo or circus, but the person that was attacked as well. After all, they are the ones paying the fee to enter an area where dangerous animals are kept. Its all about responsibility and too often are we not willing to accept our share of the responsibility in this day and age.
Animals are not governed by the same things that we are. If a person wrongs us then we get angry. If a person loves us then we love back. Human beings are capable of an array of emotions including, jealousy, happiness, sadness, anger, fear, etc. We also have the ability to plot and scheme. If someone makes us extremely angry or jealous then we may wish to do harm against that other person. Animals do not think this way and yet whenever I hear, or read of an animal attack; I always hear someone try to attribute human motivations to why the animal behaved the way it did. Real life is not Lady and the Tramp, or Over the Hedge. Animals do not reason like we do. The only activities that animal are concerned with are eating, sleeping, pooping, peeing, and reproduction. From the day they are born till the day they die, they are only concerned with life processes.
Our way of life along with our highly developed brain allows us to move beyond these simple processes. They are still there and will forever remain the focal point of life, but they will never consume as much of our lives as it does for animals. Humans still need to eat, sleep, poop, pee, reproduce, etc. We have more free time that allows us to focus on other things. We work for food and recreational things. We get water from a well and live in houses and apartments. This allows us to apply our energies elsewhere. Animals are not afforded this. Mainly because they have not evolved to the extent that humans have. This is nobodies fault, its just how it is. With this evolution comes responsibility on our part. We have to realize that we are responsible for our actions because we are aware of our actions. It is different with animals, they are not aware of their actions.
If I am walking in the woods and a grizzly bear attacks me, it does not do so out of anger. The grizzly may simply see me as an easy target. If it is hungry then it will look for food. It is wrong to say that human beings are not part of what they eat. A bear will eat just about anything if it is hungry. We know that bears eat meat. In fact, bears have been known to eat everything from berries to bucks. I think the reason that we say things like, "They don't normally eat people", or "We are not part of their diet", is because we are rarely in contact with bears. Since our evolution we have put ourselves in contained environments called houses, which are surrounded by towns and cities. No bears here, although in rural areas, residents can catch glimpses of bears in their back yards. The bottom line is that we are meat. Yes, human beings are meat. We are. You can slice us, dice us, stick us in a frying pan, and eat us. You will not starve either. I'm sure we are packed with tons of protein and fat, perfect for surviving long winters. We don't normally think of us as food, because we tend to frown on cannibalism. We eat chicken, beef, pork, lamb, duck, lobsters, crabs, etc, etc. There is very little on this earth that we don't eat.
Why is a bear eating a person any more appalling than a human eating a bear? I think the main reason is that we then imagine if it were we getting eaten, and then we conclude that it would suck. Whether it sucks or not does not matter. What does matter is that we are edible just like any other animal on this planet. To say that a bear is blood thirsty, or got the taste for blood is a ridiculous statement as well. From the time they are a bear cub; they have the taste for blood and they eat plenty of it. What they mean by "have a taste for blood" is that they have tasted human and like it. Here is a good example. If I had never tasted Chinese food before and then I try it, and then it turns out that I love it. I am going to want to eat Chinese food as often as possible. In reality I love Chinese food, and would eat it everyday if I could. The same may be true for bears. How do we know what we taste like? We don't eat each other so how do we know whether or not we taste good? For all we know human meat could be the greatest freaking tasting meat on the face of the earth. I will bet it is very tender, given the less active nature of our society.
So, if a bear attacks me, and he gets a taste; it may just be that he likes it. It is only natural for the bear to seek out some more of that tasty meat. So, it is not that a bear is blood thirsty, it just means that he has tasted human, likes it, and continues to seek it. Human beings make nice targets. Look at us, we have no claws, no long sharp teeth, we are not very big, and have lost the ability to protect ourselves in the wild without a club, knife, or a gun. The only thing we have going for us in that situation is our higher intelligence. Since we can't kill the bear with our bare hands we are forced to try and outsmart it by playing dead. Incidentally we are not the only animals that employ this tactic.
Another very important piece the grizzly bear attack puzzle is human expansion. We are constantly expanding into new territories that were once inhabited by these animals. How can we be sure how they view this activity? As I said before, I doubt they exhibit any rational human thought to the situation, but they do recognize change. Some animals may be able to associate humans with this change that threatens their home. This may trigger a natural instinct to attack. This may lead an animal to kill for the sake of killing. It is not out of anger or jealousy. All the animal knows is that we are responsible for the changes, they feel threatened, and they attack. This is much the same as a young male lion challenging the older lion for control of the pride. During rutting season, bucks lock horns for the right to mate. These are instinctual actions that may be triggered by human encroachment into an animal's territory. This would then cause an animal to see us as a threat, and in the animal world you only do two things with a threat: you either drive it away or you kill it. This behavior may account for some of the animal attacks that occur in this country and around the world.
Of course; It depends upon what animal you are talking about. Bears, deer, big cats may exhibit this behavior but it is highly unlikely that a shark or a crocodile would. In the case of many shark attacks it is either a case mistaken identity, or they just don't care, because it looks edible and they are going to eat it. It can't say for sure about crocs, but I would assume that the majority of attacks are about food with a handful about territory.Conclusions;
The bottom line is that many of the animal attacks that occur in this country are simply a matter of an opportune meal. Human beings wander into environments where animals live and they simply view us as an easy target. Animals see us as food, nothing more. How often do we think twice before cutting into a steak or eating a burger? This is much the same way, as a predator would view us in their environment. They don't see us as a person; they see us as a nice juicy steak...for arguments sake. We need to keep this in mind before we venture out anywhere that we can come into contact with these animals. Even if you don't think of some of these animals as dangerous, you still have to be cautious. Just ask anyone that has been attacked by a deer! Many of us would not assume a deer would pose a threat, but they can do damage. In the end we cannot ever really comprehend why the animal attacked us. The fact remains that animals can and do attack. Sometimes we live and sometimes we die. If we choose to enter the woods then we much accept this consequence. We must also keep this in mind when moving into a new housing development. It will take animals time to let go of old territories and seek out new territories. Unfortunately they may not always be able to and this brings humans and animals into contact more and more. As much as we like to think that we rule the earth, it's only an illusion. It is an illusion that can cost us dearly if we are not careful in the future.
I am not saying that if a bear kills a person or a child that it should not be killed. Personally, I believe it depends upon the circumstances of the attack and the wishes of the family members. Ultimately, whether or not the animal is put down I assure you that the animal has no sense of right or wrong. If an animal such as a bear eats a person, than in all likely hood it will try to eat another. We must taste good to them, or else the statement, "That bears got a taste for blood", would not have survived as long as it has. So ,what do you do with an animal like that? I guess the only thing we could do is try not to give them the opportunity to get a liking for people meat. We need to be more aware about how the world works beyond the confines of our cities and towns. There is another world that we left long ago called the wild. Knowledge is power. We need to be aware of the possibility of an attack when we enter the woods. We must always be aware that if we live in rural areas that the possibility still also remains. We should familiarize ourselves with the animals that pose a threat in our region and find out what measures we can take to ensure our safety.
As far as zoos go, we should take full responsibility there. If an animal in captivity eats one of us then oh freaking well! It's our fault the animal is in that situation in the first place. Elephants belong in Africa, polar bears belong up north, and lions belong in Africa, and so on and so forth. We can't expect them to suppress millions of years of natural instincts simply because we want to train them to entertain us. That is simply absurd. The same can be said for a circus or any other form of entertainment that utilizes wild animals. No matter how well trained we think they may be, they can still attack us for whatever reason. The bottom line is that we would not get attacked if we did not put animals in the position to attack us. If we had left the elephant in Mexico in Africa where it belongs than that trainer would still be alive today, hopefully in a different profession.
Even the most domesticated animals on the planet can still be unpredictable. A dog xxx free (zooporner.com website
) can turn on its owner in a heartbeat. It may have never done so before and it may never do so again. Still, it is not that animal's fault; it is the fault of the person with the animal. I have had more than my fare share of cats and dogs in my lifetime and I have had a few scars to prove it. As far as I am concerned it goes with the territory. If I am willing to have a pet then I must be willing to bear the consequences of that animal's action.