Tag Archives: Cyril Christo

A Call to Preserve Our Predators

A call to preserve our predators

By Cyril Christo / Wildlife Documentarian

The recent decision by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to increase the bear, wolf and mountain lion hunting quota dishonors New Mexico as a maverick gun-toting renegade state. Recently an appeals court opened the door to Wildearth Guardians to end the mercenary and cruel wildlife killing program that Wildlife Services had waged against wildlife. Game and Fish’s stated mission is to preserve wildlife for future generations. Heartlessly murdering the innocent is not part of its stated mission.

We are surrounded by states like Colorado and Arizona that outlaw trapping. We call ourselves the Land of Enchantment, but our acts of murderous folly conspire against this title. As recently stated by the Guardian, a paper written by a group of 14 leading ecologists and biologists from the U.S., Europe and Australia and published in the journal Science, calls for the establishment of an international initiative to conserve large carnivores and help them to coexist with humans. Failure to protect our top predators could soon have devastating consequences, they warn.

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“Globally, we are losing our large carnivores,” said William Ripple, the report’s lead author. “Many of them are endangered and their ranges are collapsing. Many are at risk of extinction, either locally or globally. And, ironically, they are vanishing just as we are learning to appreciate their important ecological effects.”

Ranchers abetted by certain political appointees want to maximize their profits. Never mind the lupophobia, the fear of wolves, that still exert its power over people’s imaginations. Cows that have run roughshod over a once magnificent continent full of forests may have their creditors, but it should not be in place of beings like bears who do not covet cows and mountain lions whose impact on livestock is less than negligible.

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Would you rather see this ?

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Or this ?

As a documentarian I blew the whistle on this generation of the elephant slaughter in the tremendous “Agony and Ivory”(written by Alex Shoumatoff) article launched by Vanity Fair in August 2011. The article went viral and galvanized the world. Initially, even the New York Times said it was not interested in elephants. Now the entire world is mobilized to stop the greatest mammalian genocide of our time.

Predators, too, need salvation or the children who are being asphyxiated with video games and Disney movies of Bambi and Nemo will wonder what adults did to the life force. In a time when a remarkable Love Song to the Earth created by singers from Paul McCartney to Sheryl Crow and others are pleading for the planet, it behooves us come to terms with what is at stake, a potentially lifeless planet. Why do we even consider slaying the irreplaceable? For money? For pride? For greed? We can never afford to tell the children “This is where the wild things were.” The masses of nature-deficit-afflicted kids will become a swarm of half children who will be deprived of the meaning of life, playing video games and adding to the tenor of the already most violent country on earth. As an elder in East Africa once told me, “The only thing left will be to kill ourselves!”

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Fish and Game must become an agency not for the execution of life but its maintenance, not so called management, a euphemism for outright murder. In The Great Gatsby, the author remarks that this country, the great sweep of its forests, was once commensurate with our ability to wonder. What indeed has happened to our ability to wonder? We are persecuting existence to the point where, if we are not very, very careful, we may well have nothing but a high-tech slum as Edward Abbey once warned us. Let us choose life!

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Teaching your children well?

Cyril Christo is an Academy Award-nominated documentarian who has published three books on wildlife and is working on a feature documentary on the elephant and a new book on Africa, Lords of the Earth. He lives in Santa Fe.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival & Biodiversity Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
http://www.WCFF.org

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The 2015 WCFF is October 16-25
New York, NY

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A Call for Saving Leviathan, for Saving the Whales, Part 1

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“From Hell’s Heart I stab at thee” decried Melville in “Moby Dick.” In the heyday of whaling, tens of thousands of sperm whales were destroyed for oil every year to light the cities of modern civilization. Advancing as the dominant force on earth, man slaughtered hundreds of thousands of the great mind of the oceans, the whales.

Is humanity capable of saving the seas? The ways the seas and the whales go, so does civilization. The seas are acidifying. Whales are key not just for their fecundation of the phytoplankton on which we depend for oxygen, but also for the entire immune system of the oceans. The oceans are being asked a reprieve. Without the life it sustains, humanity will drown. As Laurens van der Post wrote in “The Hunter and the Whale,” “Killing disproportionately was the last unforgiveable depravity.”

“Thinking Like a Dolphin,” National Geographic’s May issue cover story, confirms the urgency of the issue and underscores the supreme importance of cetaceans to humanity. I once heard Paul Watson speaking out for the cetaceans. He shared an anecdote from several decades ago, when he tried to stop a Russian whaler from harpooning a sperm whale. His words carried all the power of a fury decrying the modern Ahabs as he maneuvered with his zodiac trying to position himself between the long steel blade and the brain of one of the most remarkable beings on earth. Eventually the harpoon found its way into the body of the sperm whale causing untold agony.

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In the depths of its pain, surrounded by pools of blood, as the ocean turned crimson, the whale’s eye, reflecting the earth in miniature, shot a glance of what seemed like a depth charge of pity at Watson and his men. It was pity, full of loss of an enormous warrior who has battled giant squid and the ferocious crushing solitude of the fathoms below. It was pity not for itself, but for the entire human race! When Watson discovered that the whale oil of exceptional quality was being used to lubricate Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles by the Soviet Union, his voice rose and trembled because he felt the human species had gone completely mad.

The peak days of whaling are over, most whale populations have survived, but some like the southern right whales are exceptionally vulnerable. The ignominy of hundreds of years of slaughter and now industrial pollution is crucifying the cetacean mind.

In ancient Greece and even more recently off the coast of India there are many stories of dolphins saving humans from drowning. Arion who invented the dithyramb (a wild ancient Greek choral hymn) tells the story of the dolphin that saved the life of a singer who was thrown from a ship into the sea. Pliny the Elder, Cicero, Oppian in his long poem “Halieutica,” and the great historian Herodotus tell similar tales of the incomparable human cetacean bond.

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Korianos’ story as told by Plutarch is perhaps the most inspired. Some fishermen in Byzantium were to kill a group of dolphins. Korianos interceded, paid the fishermen and freed the dolphins from their net. The dolphins gave a long look at Korianos and then departed. A few weeks later, a storm raging off the coast capsized a boat on which Korianos was onboard. He alone survived and was saved by a dolphin that carried him to shore. Plutarch mentions that when Korianos died, a group of dolphins appeared before his funeral pyre with heads above water to mourn, as his human companions had done. When the smoke cleared, the dolphins disappeared and were never seen again! (from “The Dolphin, Cousin to Man“ by Robert Stenuit 1968).

* Reprinted from permission from the author, my good friend Cyril Christo.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
& Biodiversity Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, FRGS
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
http://www.WCFF.org

Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Instagram: @wcff_2014
Vimeo.com/wcff
LinkedIn: Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, Inc.