Apes, monkeys, gorillas, chimps: they’re fascinating creatures. Part of their allure is their similarity to humans. Indeed, I think part of what we like about higher-order animals is when they do anthropomorphic things. Everyone loved Koko because she had a pet kitten and talked with a Speak-&-Spell. Even more alien creatures with human abilities draw our attention. I love octopuses because they’re beautiful, odd creatures, but also because they can open jars and possess memory.
There’s also the connection to primal energy: a silver-back gorilla is as fat and hairy as I am, but it could rip my head off. King Kong holds such a powerful presence in our cinematic minds because it’s the story of Beauty and the Beast—the love of the soft and feminine subduing an unbridled, masculine force.
So this story from The Epoch Times about a recovered orangutan really caught my attention. A female orangutan was shot and separated from her baby in Indonesia. A team from International Animal Rescue managed to save the poor creature, who was starving on the jungle floor, and release her a few weeks later into a primate sanctuary.
Orangutans among all the great apes have always fascinated me the most. Maybe it’s their orange coloring, or that they look like an old Chinese man trying to sell you a Mogwai in his antique store. The babies in particular look like furrier versions of us.
My general take on endangered species is that humanity’s worth ultimately must override the worth of animals. For example, if my hypothetical baby were starving and the only food available was the last giraffe, well, we’re eating giraffe burgers. The article does point out that Bornean and Indonesian farmers will shoot orangutans because they threaten their crops, though groups like International Animal Rescue try to educate farmers about non-lethal methods of protecting against orange gorillas.
I also ponder whether or not, at some point, certain species are meant to go extinct—as they have gone extinct naturally over thousands of years—and if our efforts are disruptive to some grander design. Or, if not some grander design, is the species just biologically unfit to survive?
That’s an extremely unpopular thought to have, but one has to wonder if the delta smelt is really meant to survive in drought-plagued California. I don’t want any species to go extinct, but what’s the real net loss going to be if one specific species of tiny fish disappears? Or, say, if mosquitoes ceased to exist—wouldn’t that be a net positive for humanity?
Of course, it needn’t be a zero-sum game. That’s the trap environmentalists fall into, when their ideology is taken to its logical conclusion: humans are inherently destructive, so they must be minimized or destroyed themselves in order to save Mother Gaia. Thus, groups like Extinction Rebellion, and other truly sickening progressive efforts to encourage infertility.
God made Man the caretaker of His Creation—really, per Genesis 1:28, to “rule over” and “subdue” it. That’s a pretty awesome responsibility, considering the incredible biodiversity of God’s Creation. That responsibility doesn’t mean that we place ourselves on the same level as animals, as many environmentalists do, or that we worship Nature itself. The Holy Trinity deserves our worship, not His Creation.
But God has placed us in positions as His custodians. We can enjoy a juicy steak, but we probably shouldn’t shoot the cow for the fun of it. God doesn’t go around with His Holy Magnifying Glass setting our ant hills on fire.
In other words, just as God watches over and loves us, we should extend the same love to His Creation. It’s not one of worship, as that inverts the intended relationship, but one of love, as a father to his children.
So, enjoy your steak, sushi, KFC, pork rinds, etc.—I sure will—but don’t go around shooting orangutans… unless one is going to eat your baby.