Neglect or Nature?


I see this post on the BBC news website this morning and it got me to thinking: Is this our place to help?

It seems scientists mapped the genome for the Tazmanian Devil in the hope that they can cure the horrible disease of Devil Facial Tumour Disease and save the species from extinction.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a strong advocate for animal rights and I believe the way we treat our planet and the creatures that inhabit it is disgusting (majority of times) and we do little or nothing to prevent or cure problems that we ourselves have made through the likes of poaching, land incursion, pollution etc. Look at this list from the WWF website and tell me how many of those animals are on this list because of our actions? But I bet you’re all still eating Tuna with your jacket potato….

Anyway, back to my point.

TheĀ TasmanianĀ devil is suffering from a horrible form of facial cancer (Devil facial tumour disease) that is spread from animals biting each other. They suffer a horrible death:

And I get why passionate people want to save the last meat-eating marsupial in the world. I really do. But do we have a right to? Isn’t this Darwin’s theory of evolution in action? Natural selection? We play god enough with our own species, let alone another. For all we know, evolution has it in mind that this creature is to become extinct thanks to this facial cancer and another creature take its place.

I feel I shouldn’t really have posted the second picture, as any human with the slightest compassion for living beings will feel appalled and want to help them. I do too. But there is a conflict raging in me whether we should or not. Should our work be aimed at the animals onthis list because we put them there more so than the devil whom nature has decreed should suffer this fate?

We, as the human race and self-appointed guardians of the planet, need to make this judgement call. There is no right or wrong answer. Either way, a species will die due to our actions (directly or indirectly) as many have done before and will do again.

I’d be interested to find other people’s views on this as it’s a subject that doesn’t get enough press when you compare it to human causes.