Environmental Balance

Recently I was awoken by our new kitty, George, racing through the bedroom and bathroom.  The pounding of his little feet on the wood and tile floors sounded like a herd of elephants rather than the patter of kitten paws.  On the bed, under the bed, onto the dresser, into the bathroom, back on the bed.  Round and round he went, galumphing with extreme intensity and purpose.

As I lay there, wondering, “What in the world?!?” I heard the angry chitter of a chipmunk (called “timber tigers” around here).  Apparently while we had been fast asleep, George had gone out and caught the little critter, bringing it into the bedroom to play with.  All I wanted, at that point, was for him to kill it and be done with it.

Was I bad for wanting the creature dead?  Should I get up and rescue it?

That got me to thinking about the balance of things – the difference between “protecting the environment” and working to maintain a healthy balance as  best as possible.

I have a friend (and know of others) who feel the best action is to protect all the creatures.  She would take the time and effort to catch the chipmunk and put it back outside.  Some would even nurse it back to health if it was hurt.  But are either of those the BEST course?  I think not.

Nature, also called “the environment”, is best in a balance.  Things grow and die.  Every plant and animal has a function of both creation and destruction.  When these are in balance, the whole of the eco-system – be it a large area or a back yard  – thrives.

Timber tigers destroy the potential propagation of some trees and plants by collecting and eating the seeds and berries.  Of course, the plants produce an abundance of seeds and berries, so there should be plenty for propagation AND as a food source of timber tigers and other little critters.  But if there are too many little critters?

The balance is maintained by the predators – the owls, hawks, bobcats and cougers who prey on the smaller animals.

That’s well and good in the picture, but we’ve chosen to have dogs.  So in our yard, where the dogs have free reign, the predators are kept away.  The balance has become upset by our personal preference to have our dogs.

Back to to the question at hand — the right action to take with the timber tiger under my bed.  I decided to let George keep the balance, and allow him to be the cougar in our yard.

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