One reason why exotic pet owners are always being given a hard time is due to this inane idea that the term 'wild animal' is synonymous 'animal that wants nothing more than to injure or kill you when given the opportunity'.
Given that most people seem to have this excessive adoration of animals that causes them to celebrate the deaths of big game hunters, one wonders how they can have such a low opinion of wildlife.
Every time a video surfaces showing a strange and shocking incident involving a wild animal, people flock to the comment sections to declare how stupid the victims are, yet other videos involving wildlife that end well are riddled with praise. Those who even begin to suggest there is a problem are told:
- "Get a life! You're just jealous."
- "Mind your own business!"
- "You must live a sad life if you have the need to bring others down like this"
- "You must be fun at parties"
A few weeks ago someone on my Facebook friends list shared a video with a 2 year old baby swimming in the open ocean with a bunch of dolphins. The comments for this video were typically filled with ooos and awws, very few citing the danger of this encounter because they were transfixed with the sight of a vulnerable toddler having an experience that they all envied. Any criticism was met with accusations that they just want to wrap children up in bubble wrap and prevent them from creating memories.
It can be almost guaranteed that the supporters of that encounter will be the first to, when a negative and shocking outcome happens to be filmed involving a wild animal, shout:
- LEAVE WILD ANIMALS ALONE!
- Stupid humans, why do they always have to mess with nature?
- This is SeaWorld's fault! Telling people that wild animals are playthings!
- Of course this happened! It's a WILD ANIMAL!
All animals can bite, it has nothing to do with it being 'wild'.
Note the similarities between the incident and this one involving a fisherman:
The sea lion clearly had mistaken the child for a fish or something else it was used to receiving, which is why it approached the humans in the first place. The sea lion had no plans on killing or eating the child, because if it did, she wouldn't be with us. The animal knew it made a mistake and was gone the moment the little girl fell in the water.
Second of all, the criticism being aimed at the family is ridiculous. No, they definitely shouldn't have been feeding the sea lion, but this is hardly a sin that people go crazy with anger over when presented in videos with more attractive conclusions.
As the animal was willingly approaching, the onlookers assumed it was friendly. In many videos with curious and far more potentially deadly killer whales that receive little or no criticism, the same occurs. Plus, they were on a dock, and probably didn't realize or expect that a sea lion would leap out of the water and grab someone.
This type of expertise can't be expected of the general public. This incident was very uncommon. The know-it-alls that rush to the video's comment section to declare what the family did wrong AFTER they can view the consequences are also the people that romanticize cute animal-human interaction videos featuring WILD animals of all kinds from The Dodo.
An animal being 'wild' has NOTHING to do with what danger is poses to humans. Remember, flies, chipmunks, anoles, and sea horses are wild animals, while domesticated bulls aren't.