What would be the right thing to do?

April 9, 2009

Recently, in Kaziranga, a charging tusker killed a Dutch tourist, though the tourist group was with an armed guard.

What should the guard have done? Should he have shot and killed the elephant, assuming that it was possible?

I got an email from a wildlife egroup that I am a part of

In my opinion I would have chosen to kill the animal to save a human life….. Its harsh, but a human’s life is more precious and can give back by serving wild life conservation.

I find this argument does not hold water because…

1.The tourists were, after all, the ones intruding in the forest, the home of the elephants. 2.Elephants are known to be unpredictable in their behaviour.

  1. Who is to decided that “a human’s life is more precious” than an animal’s, morover, an animal that is not doing anything morally or behaviourally “wrong”?
  2. How does the writer so confidently state that that the human who has been saved will “give back by wild life conservation”?

I find it truly ironical that the step considered by this conservationist, is to kill wildlife, and then say that the humans thus saved are going to serve the cause of wildlife conservation!

There are no easy answers to the animal/human conflicts that take place more and more often in our jungles…and at their peripheries.

And the old question…how far should tourism go?