What???…Let nature take it course???…

Although a male, this baby’s warts haven’t fully developed.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Four species in one photo; bushbuck, kudu, duiker, and the fourth baby.

There are two statements at the top of my list that are frequently used that I consider cringe-worthy.  They are:

  • Sorry for your loss (when a loved one passes away)
  • Let nature take its course (when an animal is injured or ill)
The “sorry for your loss” makes me want to scream. It’s become a “canned” comment for those who don’t want to take a moment to express their empathy for the living with a more inventive phrase. How about, “I am so sorry to hear you lost dear Bill.  He was a wonderful man. We will all miss.” Or, my heartfelt sympathies over you losing Mary. This is truly a sorrowful time for you and all of her loved ones.” 
As for “let nature takes its course,” oh, good grief, this is a tired and overused comment when one can’t be vulnerable enough to express how a suffering animal makes us sad or feeling helpless. Isn’t it acceptable to say, “I wish we could do something to help, or…is there something we can do to help?” And then, if possible, do something.
He often sits in this goofy pose when eating pellets. This was how we knew it was him. The others kneel but don’t set their butt down while eating.
Or perhaps, when circumstances are such where we cannot help the poor animal, “I am sad to see this creature suffering” or, “It breaks my heart to see any living being suffering.”  No one in your presence will think less of you for these types of statements.
Almost every time we’ve been on a safari with others, we encounter one of the passengers in the vehicle saying, “Let nature take its course.” When seeing photos of injured animals on Facebook or other social media, some of which we’ve posted, invariably, a viewer writes, “Let nature take its course.”
Sure this statement is true. Nature will take its course in due time or, the animal will recover. Many wildlife species seem to be sturdy and can recover from serious injury. We’ve seen warthogs’ bodies and faces so severely mauled, most likely from altercations with other warthogs, that we thought the wound would become infected, and they’d eventually die.
Two weeks ago, we spotted “Fourth Baby” alone in the garden.
But, alas, a few months pass, and they’ve begun to heal using mud and often maggots as a means of treatment.  How adaptable they are! We humans, left in the wild, would hardly be resourceful enough to save ourselves if we didn’t have survival training.
Would we say about a human who is injured or ill, “Let nature takes its  course?” How would those around us think of us? How would we feel about our heartless selves if we freely and honestly felt this way?” Not much.

Recently, I’ve heard and read Marloth Park residents and visitors saying, regarding kudus with apparent signs of tuberculosis, “Let nature take its course.”

That is ridiculous! TB is highly contagious, and if not dealt with using medical treatment or euthanasia, all the kudus and other species could eventually die off in Marloth Park or even in massive Kruger National Park.  

None of the others minded sharing pellets with him.

Nature taking its course has resulted in entire species becoming extinct, let alone the whole eradication of species due to human intervention and blatant disregard for saving wildlife for future generations to appreciate and revere.

Recently, a little warthog, about six months old, was separated from its core group. We referred to them as “Mom and Babies,” especially when verbally acknowledging them from our veranda using my irritating-to-some, animal-speak voice. 

A few weeks later, we noticed that the Mom and Babies now consisted of only three babies, not the usual four. They’d been coming here daily since the piglets were no more than a week old.  Easily, we’ve come to recognize the mom and the four little pigs. Now there were only three.

Sadly, we speculated that the fourth piglet might have been run over by a car, fell under the prey of a dangerous cat that had entered Marloth Park, or succumbed to an injury after being chased and injured in a fight with an adult warthog, usually an aggressive adult male such a “Basket” who is known to chase piglets when there’s food around.

At six months, warthogs are weaned and fending for themselves for sustenance, although they may stay with the mom and the other piglets until she’s ready to deliver her next litter. The siblings may remain together for extended periods until they are fully mature and begin searching for a mate to have a family of their own.

We’ve often seen mom warthogs with another adult female who perhaps is yet to find a mate of her own. Usually, males hang together for extended periods, such as Mike and Joe and Siegfried and Roy, who’ve been together as pairs since we arrived over 13 months ago. They may stay together for life which can be upwards of 15 years.

We’re hoping that at some point, he’ll reunite with his family.

As for the missing fourth baby, a few weeks ago, he showed up in the garden by himself. We knew him right away. After all, we’d been observing the five of them for over six months. He knew how to ask for pellets, and oddly, he was the only one of the four piglets that always ate lying down with his front legs tucked under in the usual warthog kneeling position when eating.

Did he get lost from his little family, or did the mom send him on his way? We’ll never know for sure. However, he now stops by every day, and so does the mom and three babies but always, so far, at different times. We’re hoping to see them reunite at some point, especially if he’d been lost from the group.

So, now, this little guy fends for himself and hopefully acquired enough skill from the time he spent with his mother learning how to forage for food, dig for roots and plead with residents for a few pellets here and there.  In this case, we can say, “Let nature take its course” when we feel confident this little guy will figure it out on his own.

The question remains in the minds of many that humans are superior to animals. But, after spending the majority of the past 13 plus months observing wildlife in our garden and Kruger National Park, we’ve far surpassed this mentality.  

We all have a purpose and contribute to the world around us, and we pray that understanding and compassion for all living beings supersedes all other perceptions of where we stand in the pecking order. 

We’re all important.

Photo from one year ago today, March 24, 2018:

Waterbucks at the Crocodile River.  For more photos, please click here

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