Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park reported a strange trend, from December 2020 to September 2021: Coyote attacks.
Located in the heart of the city, the park includes wooded patches, home to wildlife.
The problem, scientists pointed out, was that humans were feeding coyotes so they could draw them out for photographs. Consequently, the animals lost their fear of humans over time and chased, bit and scratched them.
Eventually, seven coyotes were culled. So humans first changed the animals’ behaviour, then killed them for becoming different.
This tragedy is not unique.
From co-existence, people globally have slid into a cruel confrontation with the natural world.
As we approach World Environment Day, let’s ask how to undo our tumultuous relationship with animals in our proximity?
Humans must leave wildlife alone if it is leaving them alone. What’s the need to feed monkeys and gulls? Why carve out safaris?
Why even allow lighting near eco-sensitive areas? All these force wildlife to confront human beings and starts a vicious cycle. Cultural shifts are germane to changing these too.
Human beings are not the centre of the universe and we don’t have any business offering our largesse to any species other than our own.
If we want to feed an animal, create the ecosystems so they can fend for themselves.
If animals are ill, let them pass unless they are endangered.
Wild creatures are not for taming or entertainment. Homo Sapiens must undo the caste system of species engorged in their minds. Otherwise, it’s pointless celebrating Environment Day.
(Bharati Chaturvedi is the founder and director of the Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group)