Killing wild animals by our crass behaviour

We are killing wild animals by our crass behaviour and because of our ignorance of how to act around them.

Seal feeding her pup

Too many people are ignorant of how to act around wild animals.

We are killing and stressing wild animals by our crass behaviour and ignorance of how to act around them. We cannot resist our fascination with getting close to wild animals regardless of the consequences to the animals concerned.

On beaches near where I live there are colonies of seals and recently in the space of three days one seal pup which wasn’t weaned and too young to have a waterproof coat, was chased into the water by two young children where it drowned while the children’s mother watched proudly on.

Another was abandoned by its mother when it was surrounded by a crowd of noisy onlookers taking selfies. A third was attacked and killed by an unleashed dog whose owner either didn’t care or was unable to control the dog properly off a lead.

white and black seal on shoreline
Photo by Ruvim Miksanskiy on Pexels.com

Every year this happens because they have become an “attraction” and inconsiderate visitors ignore warning signs and the voluntary beach wardens who advice people not to go close to the seals or try to move people on that have.

Criminal offence to cause the death of a wild animal.

Few if any people are aware or care that it is a criminal offence in the UK to cause the death of a protected species, not that many will even know what a protected species is.

Sadly, it is not just wild animals. I once watched two young children chasing ewes around a farmers field while their parents encouraged them finding it amusing. I had to intervene pointing out that if their children were dogs they could have been shot. Children have a natural impulse to either chase after or throw something at any animals they come across whether it is seagulls on the beach or ducks and pigeons in the park and unless guided by their parents that this unacceptable behaviour and explain why, their children will never see the harm in it. But the problem is that many parents have little understanding themselves.

Dog owners to blame also.

Dog owners are just as much to blame as well and many are happy to see their beloved dogs having fun chasing after any animal that moves and destroying habitat. I was once engrossed looking into pond in a nature reserve full of pondlife when two Labradors plunged in and turned it into a mud bath. The owner was not concerned in the least. Chasing animals or disturbing them appears to be a recreational sport to some and yet they would probably object to hare coursing or sheep worrying.

Tourists on a beach manhandling a dolphin

This human intervention as it is often called, or ignorant and crass behaviour, is a worldwide problem. The smiles on the faces of the holidaymakers on the beach and these on a Costa Rican turtle egg laying beach are more proof of this behaviour. Some of the adults and their children were witnessed posing and riding on their backs.

Disturbing nesting turtles

The problems arise when the animals cannot escape or are forced to abandon their dependents. No wonder most wildlife runs for the hills when they see humans approaching. Meanwhile back at the seal colony in Norfolk they are building a 1.2 km. fence at considerable cost to protect the seals from us and our pets.

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Author: John Brookland

John Brookland has been passionate about animals from an early age and has always been more concerned about their individual health and well-being than any scientific or zoological interest. During his long and varied career in animal welfare in the U.K. and worldwide, he has unfortunately witnessed most of the horrors of animal cruelty there is to see and has gained extensive insight into animal welfare issues. On leaving school he trained as an RSPCA clinic assistant in London and later was manager of one of their veterinary hospitals and an animal centre. He was Chief Inspector and manager of the Bahamas Humane Society in Nassau and spent time in Trinidad advising on a humane stray dog control service, before becoming a deputy manager and animal health inspector at Heathrow's Animal Quarantine Centre. He then travelled the world for a conservation group investigating the capture and transport of wildlife for the pet trade and was an honorary consultant to the IUCN and CITES. He is now retired and still travelling the world with his partner to view wildlife and wild places and writing a blog and books on animals.

One thought on “Killing wild animals by our crass behaviour”

  1. couldn’t agree more John.
    I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, some people have no respect for other people so defenceless animals have no chance.
    Even so called “animal lovers” harass wild creatures. I’ve seen “bird twitchers” disturb a habitat so they could get a better photo of a rare visitor and pet owners who think their dog has a right to chase the ducks.
    We’ve both seen our fair share of injured dogs runover or mauled by other dogs because the owner thought their dog was too well trained to need a short lead.
    I would like to think that it is through ignorance that this sought of behaviour continues but I fear that it is just a selfish attitude.
    I suspect that by the time people realize that we are only guardians of this wonderful, diverse planet it will be too late for many of the animal species we share it with.

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