We have recently been having a discussion about wildlife rescue…and here are my two cents.
I think….it’s better to totally avoid touching wild creatures, always…their “space” gets violated as well and they get tense and distressed (and they tend to retaliate IF they can). Think of how you feel when a stranger brushes too close to you on a bus… how you cringe away from contact! Multiply this factor for a shy wild creature.
Rehabilitation of “rescued” wildlife is very problematic…sometimes, we see babies that we leave alone, for Nature to take Her course….
Let me give you two examples….
We once saw a little Pond Heron, obviously injured, at the edge of Madivala Lake, late in the evening.. Some slum-dwellers were standing around, eyeing the bird hopefully. Quite upset, we picked up the bird …and it was obvious that the bird became even more distressed at being picked up by us….we could not go to the Bannerghatta (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre) area, so my friend took it all the way to Uttarahalli, to PFA (People For Animals). But the bird died early the morning. It then struck me…would it not have been better for the natural course of things to happen? The bird would have assuaged the hunger pangs of those poor people, and been part of Nature’s food chain, instead of its body being buried at PFA and being of no use to anyone.
We found a baby bird apparently abandoned, in an apartment complex…. helpless, but quite healthy….I picked it up and took it to WRRC, only to find that it had actually died on my hands…and later the building guard, whom I know, told me that the mother bird was flying around frantically from morning to evening, the next day.
These are some of the incidents which have convinced me, against my initial instinctive reaction, to leave things alone. We, as human beings, protect our weak (or are supposed to) but elsewhere, the law of the survival of the fittest does apply (much as in our job situations!) ….and one has to remember that human beings are also part of the animal kingdom, and the food chain, though we have set ourselves apart. So, cruel though it appears at first sight, it’s usually better to leave every creature as one finds them.
I have a distrust of some of the Forest Dept guards; there is a lot of the fence grazing on the crop. Apparently, hare is high on their cuisine menu! On a census once, on pain of secrecy, I was told how much they enjoy the meat of various animals. And we all know the macho value of boasting about the various game meat one has eaten…film stars and politicians are always doing it, and then trying to get out of the legal cases.
We can have an endless conversation about this :) All sorts of views about it are there…probably each as valid as the other.