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Wildlife Less Life

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Published on: Sep. 2, 1995

Last revision: Oct. 20, 2010

viewed Conservation Department movies that offered true and realistic portrayals of nature. Kids who have seen these films learn that many animals must kill other living things in order to survive.

Many youngsters have a parent or grandparent who takes them on outings to enjoy nature. They learn the realities of the living world through hunting, fishing or camping.

In the outdoors, they participate in nature's food chains, just as their ancestors did. They learn to kill with reverence and respect. As they witness life and death in nature they come to accept them as opposite sides of the same coin. They learn that through death comes life.

Accepting Reality

Snakes swallow nestling birds; eagles rip flesh from goose carcasses; blue jays gulp down chickadees. Predation is an incontestable natural process. A predator can no more stop itself from attacking its prey than a stone can stop itself from falling.

Most people eat animals, too. They may pay others to kill animals for them by purchasing their meat at the grocery store or restaurant, but they consume animal meat just the same. A turkey tetrazzini casserole is essentially no different than the wild turkey shot by a hunter.

Sadly, people who cannot accept the death of animals suffer needless anxiety. They struggle over things they cannot change.

The most extreme individuals even hate the thought that predators, such as hawks, owls and foxes, prey upon and eat other animals. They believe someone should try to stop this from happening, or at least find a way to hide it from their sight.

The only remedy for this attitude is real life experience. Nature can teach us that the fabric of life is stitched with the threads of death.

Living things of today will eventually die to make room for the living things of tomorrow. In the year 2000, even the most long-lived animals that were alive on the earth in 1900 will have died. Billions and billions of animals will have lived, reproduced and died during that one hundred year time span.

Descendants of those animals that have already expired are now alive. Those descendants are made of the same recycled materials that their ancestors yielded back to the environment when their life cycles ended. That is the way things are.

The cycle of life and death, decay and recycling will dobutless continue whether people learn to accept it or not. Nature's law is not subject to the changing standards of human understanding. But we can help ourselves by accepting the regenerative role of death in the cycle of life.

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