Millennial Voices

How Many Deaths Must It Take Before People Learn To Use Their Brains?

People are stupid

The only wild cats one should be patting are the strays roaming our HDB blocks in Singapore. Definitely not the big cats at wildlife parks.

But one tourist decided it was a good idea to reach out of his safari vehicle to pat a lion, proving once again the stupidity of mankind.

petting safari park lion

Screen Capture from YouTube Video

The tourist was lucky enough to have left unharmed because the lion was – I presume from David Attenborough’s narration on the many wildlife documentaries I’ve watch – not in the mood to hunt. The lion “would have the power to pull that tourist straight out of that window and kill him instantly in front of his friends, ” South African safari ranger Naas Smit said to British Newspaper The Sun.

One would think that the many safari park incidents and deaths that have happened would deter anyone else from making the same mistake of leaving the safety of their vehicle, even if it’s just sticking their hand out the window. Apparently, human evolution hasn’t progressed for the better.

I’m not even going to get started on all those people who fell to their deaths from taking selfies or other freak accidents (like accidentally locking your children in a car for hours).

At this point, I’ve gone from feeling sorry for the victims and the family to feeling exasperated at such illogical behaviour by my own species and being convinced that this is just natural selection in action.

What’s worse is when people glamourise playing with danger, like parkour artists that scale tall buildings and pose precariously for the ‘gram. Or this man who teased an alligator with a fish while in a blow-up T-Rex costume.

Teasing Alligator

Image Credit: The Daily Mail

He may be a park ranger and the alligator a well-trained reptile but that’s far from the point. It also doesn’t matter that the park ranger was “making (the alligator) ‘work for his food’ because he had gotten ‘chunky’”. The stunt may have been well-intentioned but brushing it away as something that’s not a big deal sets a dangerous precedence of such behaviour as acceptable and entertaining. And the park ranger succeeding in the stunt without getting attacked may convince other untrained daredevils to attempt such risky acts themselves.

What more, these creatures still have innate animal instincts. Even with experienced trainers and presumably well-trained animals familiar with human interaction, accidents could happen. How many victims must die before people learn to not ‘play play’ when dealing with animals?

SeaWorld’s orca Tilikum and his trainer was one prominent case in 2017. Another horrific incident involved a Thai zookeeper who placed his head inside a crocodile’s mouth during a live crocodile show, only to have the crocodile snap its jaws shut on his head.

SeaWorld Orca

Image Credit: Wikipedia

Are all these really worth it in the name of entertainment?

Then, there are those who implicate others because of their own recklessness.

Take a fairly recent incident at a Safari Park in Netherlands for example. A family of what looks like three adults and two children left their car to get a closer look at the cheetahs. Another visitor in a nearby car captured the footage of them running away from the coalition of cheetahs when the cheetahs started stalking them.

Warning: Video contains content that some may find too disturbing. Watch at your own discretion.

My heart raced when I saw the cheetahs bounding towards the child – ‘that’s it, bye bye,’ I thought. What followed was anger. I was mad at the parents for letting curiosity get the better of them and for even considering putting their children’s lives on the line. One pounce and their baby could be gone, just like that.

Then again, they probably hadn’t fathomed that grim possibility, considering that they had let their children walk around amidst the cheetahs like they were at a city park.

stupid are stupid

Image Credit: Meme Generator & imgflip

Let’s not forget Harambe’s incident, who was killed to ensure the safety of a boy, all because one mother got distracted.

Another family at an animal park in Beijing wasn’t as fortunate. In 2016, a woman was attacked by a tiger when she left the car after an argument with her husband. She survived with serious injuries, but her mum died trying to save her.

Warning: Video contains content that some may find too disturbing. Watch at your own discretion.

As much as I sympathise with the victims and their family, such acts are stupid and incredibly selfish. At the core of it, many of the victims were risking everything just to experience the thrill of getting up close with such predatory animals. Not only do the victim or their family suffer, these acts affect the animals, the respective zoo or park and its staff.

If there is one thing I learnt from Jurassic Park, it’s that you don’t want to mess with creatures that are faster, stronger, or which are naturally deadlier than you are, especially when you’re in a confined area with them. Some rules are designed to keep you safe, not to be broken.

I have nothing against these safari parks of course. I love animals and am all for the conservation and education efforts. But if humans are not capable of following simple instructions or having basic survival instincts, maybe we shouldn’t have such potentially-fatal leisure activities.

With common sense apparently not common enough in our kind, perhaps what we need are terrifying videos of all those past incidents to be played to visitors as part of the safety briefing. And if that still doesn’t work, maybe people need to be forcefully locked in their car, in some sort of advanced safari vehicle that has locks that can only be remotely controlled by park rangers. With technology and driverless cars today, why not, right?

Or maybe, we should just let natural selection take its course.

Also read, Just Because You’re A Millennial Doesn’t Mean You’re Immune To Fake News.

(Header Image Credit: Out Of Africa Wildlife Park)

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