Recent world political events have left me struggling to focus on day to day things this week. I have found myself thinking that nothing I do is of any real significance. However, a friend posted the following quote on a social networking platform today, and I am going to keep it in mind.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. – William James
So what would I like to make a difference to? Well, I posted a few weeks back about the various arguments for and against intervening in natural processes (Letting nature take its course). While I think that a reasonable argument can be made either way in many cases, I strongly believe that we are mistaken in believing that we, as a species, exist separately from the rest of the natural world. We do, and can, only exist as a part of it. So the fate of our kind is inextricably linked with that of our environment and the other organisms which share it.
Many animals are treated in wildlife hospitals for illnesses and injuries which are directly or indirectly caused by human activities. In other cases, humans may not have been the cause of an animal becoming unwell, but it is in our interest to ensure that a particular animal species thrives. The continued success of the Eurasian Otter (a European Protected Species) in the UK is highly desirable, due to the ecosystem services they provide. As predators, these animals selectively feed on a variety of prey, contributing to continuing biodiversity in the prey species.
My attention was recently drawn to the work of one wildlife hospital after an otter sighting was reported to the UK Wild Otter Trust, an organisation for which I act as sightings coordinator. Following up on this sighting, I heard that the otter in question had been found to be unwell, and so it had been admitted to Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre. Last I heard, she was doing well, and costing the hospital a significant amount of money to keep her supplied with fish!
Vale are not alone in carrying out this valuable work. The New Forest Wildlife Park specialises in the rehabilitation of otters, owls and deer, and there are many other organisations involved in helping wildlife.
I’ve been struggling to think of a present for a loved one this festive season, and have decided to make a donation in their name to one of these hospitals. Not only a gift, but also an investment in all of our futures. Maybe you might consider doing the same? After all, what you do does make a difference.
Otter cub photograph appears with kind permission from Caroline Gould