By Qin Sun Stubis
(originally published in The Santa Monica Star)
Animals, like air, water and plants, are central to our existence. Many of us cannot live without them. Whether domesticated or wild, the animals are part of our social and ecological system. Some are friends, and partners in our survival. We must work hard to protect them, for they make our world beautiful, bountiful, and complete.
The human-animal bond is ancient. We are reminded of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. It is said that God asked Noah to bring two of every kind of animal onto his boat to ensure their survival before sending a horrific flood to wipe out all other life on Earth. Noah obeyed and packed up thousands of pairs of animals, making his ark a floating sanctuary. As a result, he became a sort of honorary patriarch and protector of all creatures living today.
Thanks to modern technology, we can get close to Nature in amazing ways. From our living room sofas, we can travel to the top of mountains, the bottom of oceans, and the depths of jungles, enjoying a glimpse of lives we otherwise would have never known. Seeing these creatures makes us care about them and makes us want to preserve them.
To protect the 8.7 million species on Earth, however, is a daunting task. It requires more than love and compassion. Because of natural calamities and human interference, many have ended up on endangered lists or have become extinct. Lately, with drastic climate changes and numerous oil spill incidents, our friends in the wild are struggling and they need our help more than ever.
As I join various preservation efforts here on the East Coast, one California-based organization caught my eye: SeaWorld. I first heard of it in the National Geographic documentary, World’s Smart Cities: San Diego. I watched in awe as SeaWorld scientists worked on cutting-edge molecular technology to help aging animals regenerate their bones.
A few weeks later, I happened to attend a conservation event in Washington D.C. and met a Bald Eagle named Mattie. She was rescued by SeaWorld when she suffered a broken wing. After much TLC, she’s recovered except for one telltale sign: a droopy wing that signals the loss of her ability to fly. Now SeaWorld provides her with lifelong care, along with others who have lost their ability to stay in the wild.
During that event, I learned that SeaWorld has been called upon around the country to help all sorts of injured and displaced animals. Over the last 50 years, they have saved over 25,000 lives and contributed millions of dollars to conservation efforts, working with The National Wildlife Federation, World Wildlife Fund, and The Nature Conservancy.
Conservation of nature and the beings who live in it is vital to our survival as a species, and I am deeply grateful to organizations that give us hope for the future of the world’s species and keep our modern-day Noah’s Ark afloat. We need to get as many animals on board as we possibly can for the sake of future generations. Remember, we can all help in our own ways. No action is too small. The futures of our world and our animals are in our hands.