Chimpanzees! They don’t live in Maine….right? They don’t live anywhere in the United States….right? Their home is in Africa …right? And what do they have to do with Coyote?
So let me share a story with you in answer to these questions. So this just happened this Summer in Las Vegas, Nevada. A man and a woman “owned” two wild chimpanzees and held them in cages in their back yard. Why?….because it is legal to “own” wild animals in Nevada. In July, they escaped their cages seeking their freedom from their prison. They were free but they were terrified, running around the streets. The female was tranqilized and returned to her cage, but the male was killed by the police. …leaving the female alone.
Just this past week, the female escaped again….tranquilized again and returned to a cage. So these are wild chimpanzees! What are they doing being “owned” by humans and imprisoned in cages? But sadly, this is not a unique situation in the United States. Thousands of beautiful wild animals have their freedom taken away from them….JUST BECAUSE IT IS LEGAL. Laws are not in place in this country to protect wild beings from being bought and sold, and then caged and used to please individuals as they wish. And of course, BIG,BIG MONEY is always involved in this abuse.
So what does this tell us about our Society’s relationship with the wild? Do we understand our relationship with the wild? Can we not see that imprisoning wild animals in cages and “owning” them is really EXPLOITATION .
But EXPLOITATION also takes another form in human’s relationship with wild animals who are free, like Coyotes. So if one cannot own them and imprison them and control them in cages, then one must go out and kill them just to kill them….another way of feeling in control.
This EXPLOITATION of wild beings is a painful reminder that the European world view that came to the New World over 500 years ago…is alive and well. It is a world view of control, of violence, of conquest, of disrespect of and separation from our fellow living beings. Our little children come into the world deeply connected to all life…we know this through serious studies on children. So parents have almost a sacred responsibility to keep that alive in their children. So from the gentle touch of a butterfly to the decision not to take children to Seaworld, parents guide their children in their relationships with all life. Why not Seaworld you ask? Seaworld a multibillion dollar business, supported by the capture of wild Killer Whales meant to swim the great Pacific Ocean….then placed in tanks to entertain the crowds. What do our children learn from this….I’ll let you answer that.
And so yes, Coyotes have much in common with chimpanzees and killer whales….they are wild and wish to live free….free from our exploitation. And in the words of Frank Dobie in his classic book, the Voice of the Coyote he wrote, “The coyote cannot forget freedom, and they will not lick the feeding hand that bars them in. Their self-reliance and the free exercise of their intelligence belongs only to conditions of freedom. Their spirits wither with the clank of chains.” Teach our children well….