As a nature lover, watching wildlife in action can be enthralling, relaxing, educational, compelling, exhilarating, and magical… right up to the point you realize that life or death may be playing out before your eyes. In that moment you face the big dilemma – to let nature take its course or to step into the course of events and try to save, to the best of your ability, a life.
While applauding our compassion and concern for wildlife, experts and US National Park rules say: Don’t. Touch. Wildlife.
Unless we have specialized knowledge and experience of the wildlife in jeopardy, we tend to make matters worse not better for them with our interventions. The tourist at Yellowstone Park in 2016 who put an abandoned bison calf in his van and drove it to the ranger station is pointed to as a classic example of how not to handle things.
Nature left to nature and wildlife left wild is what the National Parks are all about. But how many animal lovers could simply just drive away and leave the calf to it’s fate? And who isn’t surprised to learn that Yellowstone Park doesn’t have rehabilitation facilities and personnel on site?
Recently the fate of another abandoned bison calf was beautifully documented over the course of several hours. Following the rules of the park, no intervention was given.
Who among us would be up to this documentarian‘s challenge as passive observer? And even if we succeeded, how many of us would then forever after be plagued by a constant litany of should’ve, could’ve, would’ve…
No matter the fate. Nature always leaves a mark on our hearts. So, while I always try to follow the rule of — Don’t. Touch. Wildlife.
I proudly confess — Nature. Always. Touches. Me.