Friday, April 22, 2011

Cute furry animals for Easter!

This weekend cute bunnies and cute ducklings will be everywhere. So here's a video of foxes having fun. (Me? Go against the flow?)

And a bear enjoying some backyard relaxation...

Hammocks are not just for bears...

And what could be cuter than a lion on his birthday?

Alright, alright, here's a video of bunnies. At Christmas. Nyah! ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fear of losing credibility

Found on the interwebs:
For years now I have lived in the deep wilderness with the grizzlies, wolves, elk, moose, eagles, etc. and many times I feel like I am the student and they are the teachers. I am always so awestruck by the intelligence I see in many different animal species. In one close encounter several years ago with a grizzly, we both stared into each others eyes with only 75 feet between us. Afterwards the grizzly and I went our respective ways in peace. Since then I have seriously doubted if we are even really the most intelligent species on this planet. When I looked into that grizzly's eyes, it was such a profound experience, beyond words that I can express, and I could sense such a deep and profound intelligence. I could go on and on about what I have observed with many different species, large or small. I am always just so awestruck in what I see and experience in living with the other lives we two-legged humans share this planet with. I have no doubt that different animal species can reason and think like we do, have emotions, etc. Lately I tend to keep my mouth shut on this topic for I think that many might not be able to handle such information.

That contrasts starkly with other things I've been finding on the 'net, namely a string of reviews of the recent movie The Last Lions, and these reviews all have one thing in common. Here are some examples:
...There is a certain amount of anthropomorphizing going on here, a determination to give human characteristics to animals who may or may not have them....
...The one genuine problem with The Last Lions is its blatant anthropomorphism, which occasionally gets a little over the top. Nearly all of the movie is like this, presenting lions as capable of character development. ...
...“The Last Lions’’ tips into an anthropomorphism as unnecessary as it is absurd....
...But the lioness' biggest war is against the filmmakers, who consistently demean the proceedings with laughably anthropomorphic tropes like giggle-worthy narration lines regarding the lioness' mental state....

Now, I'm going to generalize and assume that those movie reviewers have not had the privilege of a close encounter with a grizzly, shared a snooze with a lioness, or any such experience. And yet they feel compelled to point out and decry "anthropomorphism" in the film--even though the filmmakers themselves said:
We’ve been as careful as we always are, through the rigorous fact-checking process at National Geographic, to avoid anthropomorphisms in the script.

I think this illustrates a real cultural problem. Dereck & Beverly Joubert have produced a powerful, emotional movie about the life of a lioness. These two people have lived with and photographed wildlife for decades, and they say they have produced a movie that tells a realistic story. They should know what they are talking about.

But people who do not have experience with animals feel they need to decry "anthropomorphism" in the film, as if their credibility depends on them doing so.

And the top quote, from an "amateur", yet seemingly very experienced with wildlife, reveals someone who feels caught in the middle--she knows of the intelligence and emotional lives of animals, but feels that such information is not acceptable to most people.

It is true that our society values what we believe to be "scientific" over what individuals have experienced. Truth is not served by this. And ultimately animals suffer for it.

The Last Lions is a powerful movie--almost too powerful. But I say that if you can look at the lioness as she has to leave her wounded cub and you don't see and feel the pain in her face, then you are much too worried about your "credibility" and you're not really living.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Escaped cobra didn't really escape

This cartoon is by Bill Bramhall and was published in today's New York Daily News:

The story of the cobra that didn't get far is also on the New York Daily News site.