Yesterday I showed a class some recent camera trap images. It was in the context of big cat behaviour and ecosystems. It was also in the context of disturbance as it was explained to the children that in today’s world these animals are under pressure from human activity during the day, that the night must be theirs for animals like the tiger and the leopard to survive.
After another night with loud music played right through it here in the buffer zone of a crucial big cat habitat, and at 8.30am as I write this, the music is still blaring, the issue of disturbance is a hot topic. I’ve had several complaints from foreigners who came here for peace. A friend just said to me how can our children sleep and study the next day? All parts of the dynamic have been discussed, for a while now, from the politics (stopping the music means losing votes), the Tikapur massacre, the different factions (local farmers, the tourism sector, the conservation sector) with different agendas but very rarely the affects on wildlife. I used to be surprised by this, I’m not now, I realize that people just don’t understand.
I’m wondering if the coronavirus, a warning shot from nature, will actually make a difference in people’s understanding of our treatment of wildlife. The kids nod their heads knowingly when we talk to them about it but I’m going to be brutally honest about this, the high percentage of adults I talk to just don’t get it.
The usual talk will prevail about the noise here. It’s just for the wedding season they will say. It’s not. There are countless festivals, programs and events all with loudspeakers involved. Traffic flies through the village at high speed now the road is sealed, no one has bothered to put a sign up saying please go slowly, please go peacefully, please respect wildlife (I’m getting funds together to do this plus an educational pamphlet).
Ok, play your music, yell into your loudspeakers, drive as fast as you can during the day putting people at risk and making a bloody noise. Just do it during the day. But give wildlife the night. The night is theirs, please let them have it…please.
Ok, some progress since I made the post an hour or two ago. The upcoming CBAPU Day (hopefully in Chepang) and Elephant Puja will both be used as vehicles to educate on this. It costs money so it’s going to be interesting to see who is just talk on the issue. I’m putting money where mouth is re signage straight away to explain why the protected area needs to be a quiet zone. Various other initiatives were discussed, no doubt it will continue but it has to come from the heart as well as understanding the science, this is an ecological issue. Education can be gentle and effective.
On a not so gentle note there are back biting hypocrites re this issue. Walls are thin, jungle drums beat. I’m more than happy, in fact very keen, to have those discussions face to face. Let’s see…
The jungle is a wild place.