World Wildlife Day: What Wildlife Means To Me
Yesterday, 3 March 2015, was the second annual celebration of World Wildlife Day. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for this year’s celebration – “It’s time to get serious about wildlife crime.”
I read an article in the Huffington Post blog entitled “World Wildlife Day: Why We Need Wildlife Animals,” posted on March 1 and written by Paul Rosolie. It had me thinking about what wildlife means to me.
Wildlife is fascinating.
I remember becoming fascinated with killer whales as a young child after seeing the movie Orca. Then, after seeing several dolphin movies, I fell in love with dolphins too. I love animals in general, but I’ve always been partial to marine animals (aside from my passionate love of dogs). It seems that my almost-10-year-old son has somehow inherited my love of marine animals. From his first trip to Underwater World in Singapore when he was just 5 years old to his 9th birthday celebration in Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, my son has become fascinated with marine animals, especially sharks and giant squids. I remember how an encyclopedia of sharks was our bedtime reading material for about two weeks. And how he loves everything about megalodon, and likes to imagine that megalodon still exists today. (He likes to remind me that less than 5% of the ocean has been explored, so….)
Wildlife is beautiful and calming.
I asked my son if he would be fine with sharks becoming extinct. As expected, he said no. When I asked him why, he replied, “I don’t know, but I just really like observing sharks. They are so interesting….And they’re predators. I like predators in the ocean.” I agree that observing these creatures, like sharks, dolphins and killer whales, are so fascinating because they are so different and so beautiful. We’ve also many times enjoyed watching fishes, turtles, jellyfish and even kelp in huge aquariums. Watching them is so calming, almost hypnotic.
Wildlife is precious and vulnerable.
At the same time that my son and I have been learning about shark types and shark behavior, we’ve also learned a bit about the dangers they face, including shark finning. It’s sad to imagine how these powerful and majestic creatures, these apex predators, are falling victim to man’s taste for the exotic and superstitious. We may think that much of wildlife is abundant and strong, but even these creatures can be abused and exploited by man.
Why should we care about wildlife and about the serious crimes being committed against it? If we don’t, we may soon find that we have lost not only the awesome sharks in our oceans but many of the living things in our planet that give us beauty and peace. We would lose the natural beauty of our world as we know it.