“Let us remember that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. They are splendid beings in their own right, who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet” (Marc Bekoff)
On many summer mornings in sultry South Florida, I gaze curiously from my condo patio to an unfolding, natural scene of scampering squirrels, migratory waterfowl, and ancient reptiles, coexisting by our adjacent lakeside. Muscovy Ducks huddle together in “busybody” procession. A spiny iguana slowly struts to the top of a sand hill to claim maximum exposure to the sun. A brown squirrel races to my door to retrieve his daily peanut.
How inspiring for me then that the daily survival rituals of one species does not negatively encroach on others in the seemingly endless search to find scarce food each day. Amidst such lush foliage of this subtropical feeding ground and adjoining lakeside glory, nature provides plenty of space for all. Thus, human/animal cooperation rather than competition becomes a most preferable survival option.
On this particular morning, I decelerate in my new SUV to let a a lone, Egyptian goose cross the road nonchalantly in front of my vehicle. Surprisingly, he(she) then veers directly toward the driver’s side door. I then imagine such behavioral movement showing obedience to me as a commanding king. Whether this behavior appears stupid or not, I do not care. For I have observed firsthand evidence for a suitable starting point to see human/animal survival as a matter of trust and mutual coexistence rather than a fiercely contested battle.
In our road trip travels, we have witnessed a similar phenomenon of human/animal symbiosis at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Along its vast stretch of over 1,904 sq. miles, over 67 species of animals, 16 kinds of fish, and 46 varieties of reptiles/amphibians continue to thrive here in spite of encroaching tourist invasions in the surrounding canyon. In the video below, feel how the sheer grandeur of this special place evokes the peaceful spirit of the “Havasupai” Indians who still inhabit regions of the canyon today. Understand how they cling to beliefs that an eagle, coyote… can travel through life within an individual, assisting that person in times of life crisis. Such Native American passion that wild animals can be viewed as a benevolent friend and ally resonates deeply as a source of hope for a fresh spirit of unity in our increasingly hostile country today.