On a recent visit to one of our preserves we came across a fairly large turtle that appeared to be on a mission. On one side of the trail was a canal that he had clearly just exited and the other side, the direction he was heading, was a pond. We jumped off our ATVs and got down low to observe this creature. It isn’t all that often you come across a water lover of this kind taking a stroll on dry land, so we took advantage.
He quickly retreated into his shell as you can see in the image but if I were to apply my own pretense and experience as a human to his facial expression I would say he was annoyed not scared. WHO KNOWS THOUGH. In any case, we hung out with the turtle for a couple minutes before aiding him on his journey to water by placing him a bit closer to the pond he was clearly headed towards.
So the thought occurred to me, should we move him? Does the human intervention prevent, hamper, preclude, etc., nature from taking its course? Is the act merely for the human or is our involvement in certain cases warranted? I think the answer is two sided. In many cases humans have created the peril to which the animal is suffering from or will suffer from and our involvement is “mitigation” to that peril. But humans can also insert ourselves into the lives of animals with good intention and cause more harm than good.
The choice to involve yourself or not needs to be made wisely and needs to be made with the animal in mind not our own feelings applied to the animal’s current condition. It’s very important to remember that animals are not as complex as humans. Food and safety are the primary driving factors for an animal’s existence because almost every living creature is on another animal’s menu. This is nature, this is what we are protecting and this is why we love it. It’s wild, unpredictable and awesome.
Our turtle did not seem to care about our involvement and I’m sure is happy, happy, happy searching for his mate in a new pond but I will wonder for the remainder of the day what would have happened in his life had he not been moved.