“Yeah, the moose died, but we got a GREAT photo!”
For many reasons, some practical, some emotional, some neurotic, I don’t like cameras, I don’t like being photographed, and I have to fight the urge to dislike and distrust compulsive amateur picture-takers. I know that’s a bias. I don’t think it informs my disgust with this story, however.
Vermont wildlife officials reported that a moose was resting on the shore at South Hero, which is part of Grand Isle in the middle of Lake Champlain, after swimming there from the New York shore, which borders the west side of the lake. A crowd of bystanders noticed the animal, and pushed in to take photographs of this wonder of nature.
This panicked the moose, who escaped back into the water. Exhausted, it drowned. But I’m sure some of those tourists got some great shots.
I haven’t checked, but I’m pretty sure Professor Turley is furious over this. Selfish, ignorant tourists who harm the environment they are there to appreciate is one of his constant themes. Let’s see…I’m checking….nope, Turley hasn’t reacted yet.
Well, I will.
This is a pointless, tragic, negligent killing of an innocent animal. No photograph is worth the life of a vole, much less a moose, yet too many human beings are so addicted to recording the images of their oh so fascinating lives that they disconnect the ethics alarms and common sense alerts that should tell them instinctively that…
- Intruding on nature threatens and harms it.
- Reality is not best experienced through a camera lens.
- Nobody else can enjoy a natural scene when human beings insist on imposing on it.
- The welfare of the wildlife should be the first consideration, not an afterthought.
What is an appropriate practical punishment for tourists who do things like this? Fines are not enough, and I guess public flogging is excessive.