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OUR ANIMALS, OURSELVES: Connection

November 30, 2018
By ANNOEL KRIDER - Columnist , Lake Placid News

There's a big world out there filled with a myriad of living species. They, we, all fall into that realm of life that connects us in a balanced and well-functioning environment, both physically and spiritually. When that connection is severed, the effects reverberate right back down to the tiniest of molecules.

So why does there continue to be a faction of human beings who just don't get that? When doing the research for this article, I became overwhelmed with the amount of destruction caused by mankind. Animal cruelty covers a wide range of abuses, and through our lack of awareness, heartlessness and greed, we've done it all.

One form of animal abuse is our present administration's questioning the validity of climate change and whether it poses a threat to our world.

Article Photos

Painting of a black bear by Judy Scammell

Animals across the globe are feeling those effects. Polar bears are starving because of melting sea ice. The reproduction of sea turtles has been hindered by changing temperatures at nesting sites. African elephants suffer from climate change induced drought.

Again, our present administration is making it worse. Pulling out of the Paris agreement is only the beginning. They want to undo efforts to cut power plants' carbon emissions, support the fossil fuel industry and drill for oil and gas on public lands and in waters where it could degrade habitats and disrupt migratory pathways of native species ... not to mention the risk of oil spills. Trump is talking about oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is a sensitive ecosystem home to millions of migratory birds and polar bears, among others.

His present quest to create a WALL running the entire length of the southern border could threaten 111 endangered species.

I remember watching a film clip showing a herd of elephants frantically running across an open stretch of land - exposed grasslands where they once gently lumbered, taking their time, grazing and enjoying the sun shining on their backs. They were now running because their world had changed. They ran because it was no longer safe for elephants to be out in the open where they could get killed, tusks cut from their beautiful bodies and sold on the world market - sold for ill-conceived carvings that sat on a coffee table with the tastelessness of those who have no idea that their prize came from a species who now knew more fear than joy in life.

This administration has reversed restrictions on bringing back hunted elephant trophies. They are an "endangered" species. How is this right?

We are facing a world without elephants in the wild. The rhinos are facing the same tragedy. Tiger parts trade is thriving, leaving about 4,000 big cats in the wild.

Leatherback turtles, whales and dolphins get entangled in fishing gear, and the acres of garbage floating around the oceans threatens all sea life. Wildlife on this earth faces a daily battle with mankind.

One of the most heartbreaking bills that the GOP majority in Congress has approved is the legal killing of bears and wolves and their cubs while they're sleeping! It also allows people to shoot them from the air! This is not hunting; it is slaughter.

Just recently the House passed a bill to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states. Grizzly bears will likely be next.

If you don't believe or understand why this is important and why we need to heed the cries of Mother Nature, let's talk about the wolves.

When the wolf population was slaughtered out west in the late 1800s early 1900s, it created imbalances in nature, although not immediately apparent. When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in 1995, they corrected that imbalance. Wolves kept the elk and deer populations down, which were overgrazing grasslands, damaging willows, cottonwood and aspen, all habitats of beavers, songbirds, otters, ducks, fish, etc. Wolves also checked the population of coyotes, who preyed on small animals, the food source for birds of prey. The revitalized shrubbery produced more berries, expanding the bear population. The entire ecosystem benefited and was brought back to balance by the mere introduction of a handful of wolves. It's the circle of life, and we all need to pay attention.

I do believe that there is a recognition among most of us that humans have a certain obligation to protect wildlife, which plays a very integral role in maintaining the fragile balance that ensures the wellness of our earth. Each species functions with an important, specific role, whether it be that of predator or preserver, and in this way the ecological balance is preserved. Whether it's the world's greed for money made from ivory or our own country's negligent policies, the most important takeaway here is that without wildlife, human life would not exist. Need I say more?

 
 

 

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