13 March 2007

WANTED: Dead or alive?

Even here at the threshold of the 21st century, the debate continues over whether mankind should or should not collect a "dead" specimen of any previously unknown animal. Until it is proven to exist and is recognized as an endangered or vanishing species, wildlife laws offer no protection to any cryptid from being killed.

For example, should scientists searching for the noted marine creatures seen from time to time at Loch Ness in Scotland or Lake Champlain in upstate New York hunt these animals and kill them on sight to prove their existence? More to the point of my interests, should field researchers be plotting ways to capture or kill a Bigfoot creature? Is the best aim for our research to collect a specimen; dead or alive?

Observations of Bigfoot creatures reveals that they are social animals that operate in groups and somehow communicate with each other. They watch human beings, especially hikers and hunters and people living near their habitat areas, and have proven themselves at being adept in eluding us. They have adapted to our modern technologies; exercising caution to avoid dangers posed by trains or automobiles or articial lights or cameras. They could prey on us, but for whatever reason they don’t. A peaceful coexistence is maintained– though for the vast majority of people, we as a race remain blissfully unaware of their presence and proximity.

Now if someone ever managed to kill and collect the body of one of these creatures as a dead specimen, we should not dare to presume it will go unnoticed. These creatures watch us; adapting and learning. Once we demonstrate our intentions and capabilities of successfully hunting them, we will become their enemy. The table is turned. How do you think this will change their apparent indifference toward people? Will they become more active in defending themselves and their habitat areas? Will they become offensive or aggressive?

This is certainly one species of creatures that no one would want becoming hostile towards people.

As a community of investigators who are developing field expertise and techniques for finding these creatures, our primary aim should be to improve our surveillance of the living animals. Observations of living animals in their habitat areas are the only way we will find out how many of them are there, how do they live, how do they communicate, and what behaviors can we expect from them. You cannot learn the answers to any of these questions from a dead or captured specimen.