Friday, November 28, 2008

Nurture Nature?

Warning! Your Results May Vary

This article is a stupendous example of the challenges surrounding wildlife preservation and the issues of custom vs. conservation.

I really recommend you read the whole article here:

Once Revered, Komodo Dragons Turn Nasty


These locals have long viewed the dragons as a reincarnation of fellow kinsfolk, to be treated with reverence. (Awww!) But now, villagers say, the once-friendly dragons have turned into vicious man-eaters. Sad. And they blame policies drafted by American-funded environmentalists for this frightening turn of events.

“When I was growing up, I felt the dragons were my family,” says 55-year-old Hajji Faisal. “But today the dragons are angry with us, and see us as enemies.” The reason, he and many other villagers believe, is that environmentalists, in the name of preserving nature, have destroyed Komodo’s age-old symbiosis between dragon and man. (Sniff)

“We don’t want the Komodo dragon to be domesticated. It’s against natural balance,” said Widodo Ramono, policy director of the Nature Conservancy’s Indonesian branch and a former director of the country’s national park service. “We have to keep this conservation area for the purpose of wildlife. It is not for human beings.” Hmmm. Good point.

A year ago, a 9-year-old named Mansur was one such victim. The boy went to answer the call of nature behind a bush near his home in Kampung Komodo. In broad daylight, as terrified relatives looked on, a dragon lunged from his hideout, took a bite of the boy’s stomach and chest, and started crushing his skull.

Unlike in the U.S. and many other Western countries, park rangers here don’t routinely put down animals that develop a taste for human flesh. Good for them!

To the villagers in Komodo, the recent incidents provide clear evidence of an ominous change in reptile behavior. “I don’t blame the dragons for my boy’s death. I blame those who forbade us from following custom and feeding them,” said Jamain. “If it weren’t for them, my boy would still be alive.”

The boy “shouldn’t have crouched like a prey species in a place where dragons live,” said Marcus Matthews-Sawyer, tourism, marketing and communications director at Putri Naga Komodo. Oh come on!! Blame the victim, some more, would ya? I'm guessing there's no indoor plumbing alternative.

Dragon and man could coexist here in harmony in the past, Komodo park officials add, because at the time the area’s human population was a fraction of today’s size. So pass out birth control. Offer boat rides to another island. Play Survivor. Oh, wait, the lizards are...

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