Saturday, 7 December 2019

The cost of Love

In the last discussion, we spoke about why humans like to interact with animals. One of the way by which we tend to interact with animals is by visiting them in zoos.

We love seeing monkeys climb trees or a deer grazing or birds flying around or a tiger yawning. All of us are curious about animal behavior and learning more about them is important to our survival as well. But seeing these animals behind bars, inside cages, seems like human depravity.

There is no study showing that we learn better if the animal is in a zoo or if it's in the wild. If I can learn about my brain without actually seeing it, I can learn about animals without capturing and torturing them. If zoos teach anything, they teach us dangerous lessons. They teach us that humans have the right to enslave animals and reinforce the notion that animals have no other purpose other than for our gain. Zoos do not teach us to respect individuals.

Friday, 6 December 2019

The reason of Love

In many of my conversations, I hear people talking about their favourite cat/ dog videos. A lot of times, these are on the characteristics of the animal and sometimes, even their reaction to new stimuli. I am sure you would have seen dog's reaction to a slice of lime or a cat chasing the laser light. Many of these are entertaining.

But have you wondered why are these videos so entertaining? Why, we as humans, find amusement in the characteristics of animals? I think the answer lies in our love for the animals themselves. Do we not want to pet the dog who was tricked by lime or a cat whose tired of chasing ever moving laser light.

Our brains evolved to enjoy the animals because they can help us survive. Modern man now has the ability to view animals in the wild, in captivity, or on smartphones. But the reasons for doing so — whether the animals are cute or deadly — may still be very much the same: our survival as hunters, farmers, and potential prey depend on it.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Run Baby Run

Birth is always magical. It's the start of a new life. It's new energy, new beginning, regeneration of life... ray of hope. We want to shower the newborn with love, protect them from all dangers and give them all the happiness in the world.

Yesterday we posted a photo of a topi being born. The topi mother wants to love and protect the young angel just as much as we do, with our kids. But in these grasslands, the most important teaching/gift a mother can give her child, is the ability to run. Who knows what is waiting behind the bushes! Who knows what will pounce on the tiny helpless kid and snatch him from his mother forever!

So the moment a baby is born, the mother encourages the baby to stand up, and run. It's not easy for the baby. The magic of evolution has given them the ability to start trying from the first moment of their lives. The baby tried, failed, tumbled, fell over, but never gave up. And within 10 mins, another magic happened...the baby finally stood up and started running.

At the end of that day, for us, life won over all adversities.

Food for thought: are we really protecting our children from all potential dangers? Are we really doing our best to give them all the happiness in the world? 

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Circle of Life Part 2

Nature is cycle of life and death. We saw a young Topi losing his life and a lioness devouring him. But life isn't all gore and scary. It regenerates itself. Merely half an hour after we saw the Topi being killed, we saw another Topi being born.

Another herd of Topi was happily grazing around. We saw this female Topi uncomfortable and a little shaky. We took a closer look and realized, she was going to give birth pretty soon. The new-to-be-born had already started coming out just a little bit.

Again it was a long wait. The Topi kept grazing, taking break intermittently to lie down on the ground. She kept trying to push the baby out. Some other Topis tried to help her a little at times. But mostly she was on her own. And finally we saw it happen. We saw the tiny one seeing the first light of its life.

It was a test of patience. But we saw the magic of life unfold right in front of our eyes. A loss of life and a sight of new birth, all in a span of an hour. That's how magical these savannas can be. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Circle of Life Part 1

We were roaming around here and there. A message on radio and we hurried to the destination. There was silence all around. It was just another jungle scene. Impalas and Topis grazing the vast savannah under mid morning sun. It couldn't be more mundane. But we sensed something else, tension hanging in the air. And heard hushed voices saying 'a lioness is stalking from behind a bush' far away. So we sat there, waiting.

It was a long wait. Untrained eyes could not have predicted what was going to happen next. The silence and the calmness was almost engulfing. Even the herbivores had no clue what was lurking from behind those bushes.

Then I saw her. A splash of dull greyish yellow and a pair of eyes, still, full of concentration, trained on the prey. In a split second she started chasing. The whole herd of scared herbivores ran for their life, scattered all around. But the lioness had her target fixed. Her gaze didn't shift for even a second from her prey. She spotted the weak link from far away. A few seconds of chaos, and it was over. A young Topi had already lost his life.

We posted a photo of this young Topi few days back, photo of the last moments of his tiny life. The next I saw him was when he was cut to pieces, bloody, lifeless, under the strong hold of the lioness.

But life is not all grim. It's beautiful and it is constantly regenerating itself. We will see that in tomorrow's post. 

Monday, 2 December 2019

Playing Safe

A recent essay in Scientific American argued that scientists “tend to underestimate the severity of threats and the rapidity with which they might unfold” and said one of the reasons was “the perceived need for consensus.” This idea that we need to underestimate and present the most conservative output possible is generally understood by the scientific community. The sad reality is that politicians and industrialists who want to benefit from public ignorance and inactivity still present these conservative studies as the most outlandish ones.

This summer, for instance, a heat wave in Europe penetrated the Arctic, pushing temperatures into the 80s across much of the Far North and, according to the Belgian climate scientist Xavier Fettweis, melting some 40 billion tons of Greenland’s ice sheet.

Had a scientist in the early 1990s suggested that within 25 years a single heat wave would measurably raise sea levels, at an estimated two one-hundredths of an inch, bake the Arctic and produce Sahara-like temperatures in Paris and Berlin, the prediction would have been dismissed as alarmist. But many worst-case scenarios from that time are now realities.

We need to understand that climate change is a reality and the sooner we accept and try to slow down this process, higher the chance of our survival.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Can we take a chance?

India will break its previous record of having been hit by the most number of tropical cyclones in a year, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said in its latest bulletin. Last year, the country broke its 33-year record, after having been hit by seven cyclones. Emerging climate models predict increasing intensity and frequency of tropical cyclones. The logic is fairly clear: As oceans warm, there is more moisture and ocean storms will build up to lash the land with devastating wind and rain.

We have seen cyclones like Fani and Ockhi cause mayhem and many losing their lives in the aftermath of this. It may be true that there is no truth in the theory of climate change and cyclone, but if there is even the slightest chance that the scientists are correct, shouldn't we be taking all precaution to make sure these killers are not created because of us? Wouldn't it be most critical to at least try to stop climate change even if it means less than 10% chance of reducing the impact of these cyclones, even if it means we save just one life, isn't it worth it?