Image

Ruffled

Photograph of a pigeon with ruffled feathers

Photograph of a pigeon with ruffled feathers

The pigeon sat perched in one of it’s favourite spots – the roof of the blue shed just outside the house of the humans. He was reflecting philosophically on what had just transpired. One of the humans, while watering the plants in the balcony, had clumsily sprayed some water from the hose onto the pigeon. It was probably accidental, of course, but the pigeon was in no mood to see the funny side. This had happened far too often in the past few weeks, and he was starting to think that the humans got some twisted satisfaction by spraying water on the helpless pigeons. As he sat there and ruffled his feathers to get rid of the water, he wondered why humans behaved like they did. Did they not care anyone but themselves? Not able to extract any meaningful answers from his deep contemplation, the pigeon flew off and forgot about the incident.

The above story, although made-up, probably accurately reflects the thoughts that run through the minds of animals living in urban settings. Often humans get so tied up in their own lives that they forget that they are not the only living beings around. The spraying of water on a pigeon is one of the smallest possible results of this ignorance. Larger and much more serious implications include the extinction of animal habitats.

Since the industrial revolution, humans have rapidly usurped the natural habitats of animals for their own residential, agricultural and industrial purposes. This has led to the extinction of several thousands of species of plants and animals. It is estimated that between 0.1% and 0.01% of all species go extinct every year. This may not seem like a lot, but that means that if there are a total of a 100 million species on earth, between 10 and 100 thousand of them go extinct every year! If the growth in human population and their ignorance continues, the earth will soon be robbed of all natural diversity and life itself may end on the planet.

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