“Everything is connected to everything else.” The first law of ecology, as stated by Barry Commoner, holds true where studied ecosystems are concerned. Cheetahs are not isolated predators, depending on good habitat and prey, who also depend on that habitat. Predators and large animals are excellent indicators of the health of the environment. This is a message that was thoroughly bored into my head when working with cheetahs, widening my perspective on conservation and encouraging that all-encompassing approach to protecting habitats and everything in them.
By working with cheetahs, I also learned vast amounts about other species, and also about myself. I’ve tried to be more conscientious about all the things that I am connected to, both as a person and part of a species, being responsible as one of the 7 billion custodians of the planet.
But it’s not all doom and gloom and maturity. Here is a silly song, scraping those last dregs of Christmas together into the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, about black rhinos. Enjoy!
Bertie the last black rhino,
Had a very pointy nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would not believe it grows.
All of the other species,
Used to laugh and say mean words,
They never let poor Bertie,
Join in their savannah herds.
Then one sunburnt Christmas Eve,
The warthogs came to say,
“Bertie with your nose so stout,
Won’t you dig our tubers out?”
Then all the other species,
Did admire Bertie’s horn,
And they would then protect him,
So poachers you have now been warned!