Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Fight with Myself

I am a toucher. Now mind you, I don't want to touch coral, or break it off, or damage anything ever. If there is a sign posted, or a law, that says DO NOT TOUCH, I won't.

But what about when you can? And want to?

I love have my picture taken with various creatures. I think it all started when I was 8 and they had a bobcat at the place where we bought our family car. I got my picture taken hugging it. Not the car, the bobcat. (The poor thing was so drugged it could barely open it's eyes as I look back to the pic.)

I also am a big proponent of protecting marine life. Do no harm. Protect the ecosystem, etc.

I have had my picture taken with the porcupine puffer, a sea cucumber (I am actually snuggling with it), and several starfish. I have had my picture taken while petting/scratching manatees. None of the animals were harmed. I have been one on one with sea turtles and never touched them due to the laws.

I have also petted dolphins at Sea World. I have had clams opened up and killed to get the pearl (at Sea World.) But I don't eat fish (well, except tuna) but only because I don't like the taste of any of it.

So I struggle with myself. Get a cool picture with an odd animal or get one of just the animal. They just seem so much better with a person involved.

I would imagine a lot of you have a lot to say about this subject. But please be kind - as I said, I fight with myself.

1 comment:

erich said...

I will preface by saying that I love diving. I find the underwater world fascinating and try to dive as much as I can when in the tropics.

I understand the desire to want to touch things in the water though. Humans are inquisitive creatures and they generally want to learn more about the environment that they are in. The ways in which to do this is to observe, listen, smell and touch.

If you have an understanding of how long it takes for coral reefs to develop you know that touching coral destroys the polyps, which leaves scars and can ultimately kill the animal. I think it is beneficial to actively recognize that coral is an animal even thought it may act like a plant.

Fish do not want to be handled and it causes them great stress. This is evident when handling a porcupine puffer. While it may be interesting and perhaps amusing to see the result of it puffing keep in mind it is doing so because it is fearful panicked. Porcupine puffers have been known to bite off diver’s fingers and indirectly die due to the amount of energy they have used on their defense mechanism of a diver’s amusement.

When I dive I treat the underwater world like I am going into a museum without ropes. Treat it with respect and as they say, “leave nothing but bubbles”.