As naturalists and nature lovers we find ourselves drawn to all living things. We adore, and more importantly respect just about every organism in our natural world. So what happens when we are faced with the dilemma of protecting our native species who have become threatened by an invader. A similar outlook may come into play when the situation of overpopulation arises, and hunting or trapping becomes a necessity. Such as in the case of the nutria.
To some, the thought of destroying a beautiful plant or terminating the life of an animal is incomprehensible and heart wrenching. Why and how could anyone be so cruel, some might ask? That tree is magnificent, shady, and the birds and critters love it.... why would you want to cut it down? That cute, little pig is just minding its business... it has a heart and feelings. Why should it be euthanized? Some of us say, oh sure, if I were ever in the position I would be able to do what is best for the greater good of our natural flora and fauna.
So, say you happen upon this invasive or overpopulated species, and now the moment of truth. Do you really have the guts, or the heart, to do this???? Well guess what, it should be acceptable either way. We should not feel pressured by others and we should not judge those who are put in this predicament. But we
should take action and get a handle on things none the less. After all, we still have a job to do as naturalists, to help restore balance and order in our untamed environment. Some of the unbalance is due to humans in the first place. Should we have the need, there are professionals and probably acquaintances who would be willing to handle the situation knowledgeably and ethically. We should all be able to work together at any task, with respect and without conviction, when it comes to matters of the heart and personal morality. Don't be afraid to ask for help or lend a hand. We're all here to enjoy the extraordinary outdoors and keep it majestic!
Photographs (c) Erin Bryan, used with permission.