Animal Instincts

Posted on October 26, 2020 at 2:30 PM

In my circle of friends and family, I think it is a universal truth that we are all animal lovers. From the sharing of heart-warming stories about dogs, to owning cute cats and sharing videos of earth’s amazing creatures – people are fascinated by nature.

I make no apologies that my favourite animals are a lioness and a Komodo dragon (although ‘The Lioness & the Dragon’ does sound like a rubbish CS Lewis rip-off) and I will tell you why.

Lion

The lioness is just awesome, a stunning creature full of poise, grace and beauty, while at the same time deadly, intelligent and utterly powerful. She lacks the speed and agility of the cheetah, but this is made up for in cunning and brute force. I often find it unpleasant to watch an animal kill and devour its prey, but this is the natural order of things and I could watch the lioness hunt all day. The lioness is a fantastic mother - she provides for and protects her family and would die to keep them alive and safe.

All the while, her mate sits under a tree somewhat in love with himself, waiting for his dinner – my wife would tell you this is not dissimilar to us, but she is wrong of course.

My other favourite is the magnificent Indonesian Komodo dragon, what an animal! The reason behind my awe of these beasts is short and simple – I was once a little boy; and like most of the little boys around me in the 70s, I loved dinosaurs! So let’s be clear - the Komodo dragon is a real life dinosaur! Nothing more, nothing less, this giant lizard is the closest we will get to seeing a real life pre-historic beast. And for this reason, I absolutely and completely love them.

Komodo

The reason that I am writing this piece is because I just read an article on the BBC website entitled ‘Extinction crisis: World leaders say it is time to act’. The article was about a summit of 150 world leaders who met to discuss how they can ‘reverse the decline in the natural world’. This is, of course, to be applauded and would be a fantastic course of action to take, but (you just knew there was a ‘but’ coming). The ‘but’ is this; a UN report in September 2020 revealed that not one of the 20 biodiversity targets that countries signed up to in 2011 would be fully met – not one! The targets (which you can see here https://www.cbd.int/sp/targets) set in 2011 were ambitious, but to not meet any of them is simply unforgiveable.

It may sound like I am having a pop purely at the leaders, I am not. Every one of us must take responsibility for playing our part in changing the way we live to protect and preserve our planet – me included. However, the leadership on these must come from the top down. Individuals can only do so much, and the push has to be on a national, continental and global scale.

So, what has this for to do with my love of the dinosaur (I am calling it that from now on) and the lioness? To survive, any species (including humans) needs a habitat which enables it to do so. We are systematically destroying the habitats of animals due to our own consumption and this has to be addressed – we have decimated much of the rainforests and marine areas already, putting 1 in 8 species at risk of extinction, species that have been around for millions of years.

This must be addressed, and it must be addressed now by finding sustainable processes and products for our ever-increasing need. Otherwise one day we will say goodbye forever to our friends the Komodo dragons, the lionesses, the bees, the sharks, the elephants, the rhinos……

Russ Platt - October 2020

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