“It is a perversely human perception that animals in their native habitat are running wild.” — Robert Brault
This quote started me thinking about the terms “wild animals” and “in the wild.” I concluded that the word “wild” has mutated into a variety of meanings, and is often applied to human behaviors that would never be found among the animals, though we might flatter ourselves that unrestrained or nefarious human conduct is something also found in nature, falsely equated with “freedom.”
In reality, animals in their natural habitats are still constrained, if not directly by humans, by nature itself. Weather, food supply (or lack thereof), disease and other animals all exert a powerful influence, as do the patterns of behavior that we think of as instinct. Anyone who has ever watched a bird methodically assembling a nest or feeding its young would have to conclude that some humans could benefit from such “wild” diligence.
Living in the most urban environment I can remember, I have been surprised to have more interaction with undomesticated animals than I have had in most other places I’ve lived. The birds, deer, rabbits and squirrels that visit our townhome have a boldness in proximity to humans that I’ve not seen before. While I enjoy it, I also wonder whether it’s not worrisome, for us and for them.
In any case, it’s always a delight to see them, which almost always happens when Jeff spots them first and calls me to point them out. The next time you see “wild” animals, I hope you will take some time to enjoy watching them and reflecting on whether their actions might have as much (or more) purpose as many of ours do!
One year ago today: