Sunday, August 24, 2008
How Nature is Supposed to Work
This evening, as I was walking to my truck after another good day at the battlefield, I saw three visitors (two adults, one child) making a bee-line for me. Although my working day had ended five minutes earlier, I changed course and headed toward them as the sight of a blood-spotted paper towel wrapped around one of the adult's hands caused me some concern.
The visitor was just fine.
The blood on the paper towel was coming from what was wrapped inside the towel; a very young rabbit, very young...okay, I'll say it, a "baby bunny".
The visitors were very concerned for the welfare of this bunny, they had rescued it and were now bringing it to a person in authority so that everything could be made right. I took the bunny and assured them that I'd contact the appropriate people, thanked them for their concern, and reminded them that wild animals should never be touched or picked up. That last part seemed to fall on deaf and over-wrought ears.
They thanked me profusely and with great relief, and we parted ways, me with the very damaged rabbit, they with a damaged view of how nature is supposed to work.
Yes, I agree, there is nothing cuter than a baby bunny. That being said, let me point out that cute baby animals are food to most other animals. Are there now some cute little owl babies that are going to miss supper because their mommy got rooked out of the little bunny she caught by some well-meaning humans?
Perhaps a fox had just dropped that bunny, spooked by the approach of humans, and now there are three hungry fox kits whining in a den on the battlefield.
Animals survive, in many instances by eating other animals. Predators, often cute themselves, usually eat their prey while their equally cute prey are still alive. The natural world is a cute and furry lesson in cold, dispassionate survival.
A shocky, bleeding four-week old bunny is a square meal for many of the predators on the battlefield. Being food seems to be the lot of prey animals. Hey, I don't make the rules, I just try to stay away from bears! But there you have it - animals kill and eat each other. Even animals that die of natural causes (heart disease and stroke) are eaten by other animals. Its not ugly, its not mean, its not unfair, its just nature, pure and simple.
Here's a piece of advice from old Ranger Mannie: if you come across an injured animal; do notify the authorities, don't touch or hover over the animal. If you think that your presence will somehow sooth the passage of that animal as it passes over to animalia, think again. That injured or dying prey animal is absolutely terrified of humans, your presence, believe me, will be anything but comforting to that injured animal.
Just note the location, notify the authorities, and be on your way knowing you did the right thing.
Now if you are curious about what became of that little rabbit...
I think you need to read this entry again.