Wildlife webcams are the newest and coolest way to connect with the animal kingdom that we humans don’t normally get very close to. Viewers have the opportunity to see everything from polar bears to falcons and can witness amazing natural behaviors such as a bear catching salmon or a baby eagle hatching. If you aren’t familiar with these cameras, you can check out some live action footage happening in real time right here.
Avid viewers of this technology only have one complaint: they don’t like to see any harm befall the creatures that they grow to love via the webcams, and this tends to happen in the wild. Nature isn’t always pretty.
Last month, officials caved into protests and rescued a baby eagle with a broken wing in Minnesota. Another struggling bird was not so lucky, when officials in Maine chose to allow nature to take it’s course. This triggered a huge amount of backlash from the nature-loving community.
Experts say these reactions are understandable, though misguided. Erynn Call, a raptor specialist with the state of Maine, explained:
“The nest cam is more of a mirror to reflect what’s going on with all eagle nests. It’s not to be used as a baby monitor to intervene when we see something that makes us feel sad as humans.”
To put things into perspective, many Maine viewers had their hearts broken when only one of a pair of young eagles survived long enough to make it past the safety of it’s nest. In reality, there are approximately 600 of these nests all across the state of Maine and it’s a success when just one baby eagle from a specific nest survives.
Patrick Keenan, from the Biodiversity Research Institute in Maine, commented on what is the majority opinion of animal experts:
“The general view is not to intervene. These are wildlife. They’re not pets.”
Jason Damata, from explore.org, which operates about 50 of these wildlife webcams, said:
“Every year, we show polar bears that are starving while waiting for the ice to freeze. People are like, ‘Feed the bears!’ No, we’re not going to feed the bears.”
But sometimes pressure form the public outweighs the opinions of the professionals. Portia Reid, a woman from Dallas, has watched the Maine eagles for three seasons now, which is a very cool opportunity that she may not otherwise get. Reid was able to explain how the webcams are a sort of double-edged sword:
“When you invite humans in, be prepared for human emotions. The majority of (bird watchers) accepts the raw nature of survival of the fittest and understands the no-intervention policy. However, there are cases where intervention is needed.”
So, what do you think? Do we have an obligation to assist these animals if we witness them struggling on the webcams? Or should they be left well enough alone? Tell us how you feel in the comments section!
H/T: Tell Me Now