When Man Evolved A Conscious
animals began to change. Until then, they were broadly divided into
those which ate him when they got the chance, those which he ate when
he got the chance, and a third group which competed with him for food,
or was otherwise a nuisance to him in the business of keeping alive.
In the primitive situation, man was, therefore, basically against
Nature but, as the battle was progressively won, conscience crept in;
the awareness of responsibility, and a failure to meet it, produced
feelings of guilt. Those who live in cities and need no longer do
battle against Nature are nowadays most actively for Nature.
At this time, something like a thousand kinds of animals (vertebrate
animals) can be said to be in danger of extinction. A few of them have
been reduced to this precarious position by extensive killing but the
majority are disappearing only as fast as the particular kind of
country they need for existence is itself disappearing: and all this
at the hands of man, as often as not by mistake.
There are three species of turtles whose future survival is menaced by
the demand for turtle soup, which would hardly justify the
extermination of a giant reptile whose family has existed for 200
million years. Leopards are in jeopardy because of the fashion for
their skins. As they get rarer, the prices rise and, as leopard skin
coats become more expensive, the demand increases. No species can long
survive the price of #60000 which a half-grown baby leopard now
carries on its skin. And crocodiles, the longest surviving reptiles,
are now dwindling alarmingly as a result of the fashion in crocodile
skin for ladies' handbags and men's shoes.
The human population explosion spreads mankind across the land
surfaces of the earth at an alarming rate. There will be twice as many
of us before most of us are dead. Does this mean no room for wild
animals? Of course not, with ingenuity and forethought, a place can be
kept for them. To destroy their habitat is as unnecessary as it would
be to pull down a great cathedral in order to grow potatoes on the
site. A campaigne to save what remains is the concern of a new kind of
Noah's Ark_ the World Wide Fund. It does not believe that all is lost.
[Article Source:- Adapted from Peter Scott's article in Sunday Times]