Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What the World Can Learn from 40 Beached Pilot Whales on a New Zealand Beach

Yesterday, we got a news story about 40 beached pilot whales on a New Zealand beach, thanks to Yahoo!’s far-reaching and largely pointless efforts.

Apparently the critters came in too close to the shore and got themselves beached. Not once but twice. After volunteers “worked for hours to get them back into the sea.”

Originally, there were apparently close to 100 pilot whales that got themselves into a dry spot, 34 of which died before they could be rescued. “26 were successfully refloated late Monday and had swum offshore,” but the remaining whales worked themselves right back onto the sand.

And as of yesterday afternoon, Department of Conservation spokesman Nigel Mountford believed there was little hope left of saving the twice-foolish mammals.

The article concluded that “Mass strandings are common on the New Zealand coast and more than 50 pilot whales have died in two separate beachings in the same area in the past two months… Scientists are unsure why pilot whales beach themselves, although they speculate it may occur when their sonar becomes scrambled in shallow water or when a sick member of the pod heads for shore and others follow.”

So why focus on a bunch of animals on a political blog? I’m glad you asked…

This story highlights a couple of things that liberals would consider to be inconvenient facts and conservatives would be more likely to call “common sense:”

          Number 1: Mankind is not the source of every hurt in the world. Sometimes animals hurt or kill each other, or hurt or kill themselves all on their own. In fact, watch the Discovery channel if you want some really disturbing footage of exactly how animals treat each other on a regular basis. There’s a reason – lots of them, actually – why humans are generally considered superior. Except for politicians, of course.

          Number 2: Mankind cannot prevent every hurt in the world, much less save it entirely. Those very nice volunteers wasted hours and hours trying to maneuver a bunch of bulky, powerful, panicked whales off of the sand and into the water, only to have to try to do it all over again with practically two-thirds of the original group, most of which probably died. And for what? To save a planet that seems intent on keeping up its natural cycle of life and death regardless of how much any of us interfere?

It just seems much more sensible to give up on the idea of mass responsibility over the history of mankind and start thinking about personal responsibility on a day-to-day basis instead.

And the same thing goes for the whales. Who knows... Maybe they'll finally stop beaching themselves that way.

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