Do We Want Wildcats?
Do We Want Wildcats? This might sound odd to many people. Most people would say, “Yes”, of course. But our worldwide, collective actions, taken as a whole, say something different. It is commonsense, it seems to me, that the people of the world should ensure that the beautiful wildcats survives in the world. After all we owe them a debt. We agreed some 9,000 years ago to form a partnership in which the wildcat was to be domesticated and in return we agreed to take care of the then domesticated wildcat. On that basis we should also look after the wildcats that remains wild, but collectively, we do not. Do we want wildcats or just domesticated cats, cats that do as we say and go where we say?
There are a thousand examples of wildcats being persecuted at the hands of people. In Europe we have the Iberian lynx and the Balkan lynx. The former is on the edge of extinction and the latter is mistreated to the point where endangerment of extinction is imminent and in my view has arrived (but the IUCN thinks differently and allocates a status of Least Concern).
The point is this. There are many millions of individuals who care deeply about the plight of the wildcat, the leader of which, is the tiger (in a dire predicament, really). But, and this is a big but, as a whole pooling all the peoples of the world together, we do not care sufficiently to arrest the decline in the overall populations of the wildcat.
You know, if we actually really care, there would be many more people taking action at the “sharp end”. One issue is that many wildcats are in countries where corruption is rife. But let us remind ourselves that in the west, the so called “developed” countries we have (in the case of Great Britain) eradicated the wildcat (except the Scottish Wildcat) in the wild many thousands of years ago. In Portugal the Iberian wildcat is hanging on by a thread. We now look to the east, India (the frontier for the fight to save the beautiful tiger) and places like China and Bangladesh etc. to save the remaining precious wildcats. We screwed up and want the east not to do the same to assuage our guilt. But the east will just say why should we, especially when the world economy is in a very poor state. And I can understand. The poor state of the economy will have a bad effect on the world’s wildcats because the preservation of wildcats will cost people money. Their fur is profitable and if not profitable their presence gets in the way of ownership of land and thereafter profit from land ownership (e.g. mineral mining).
Undermining the whole preservation of wildlife process (and there are many wonderful organisations involved on the preservation of the wildcat be they small,medium and large) is the dreaded god, money, and behind that god there is political corruption. It is firmly arguable that the organisations that are in charge of preserving the world’s wildcats are always open to the prospect of political and financial corruption. Corruption affects and damages the entire world but no more than in the agonising process of preserving the precious wildcat.
Do we want wildcats? Yes, but it is not our first priority. Our first priority is ourselves. This priority is so overriding of the desire to preserve the wildcat that this secondary objective is all but lost. It is certainly sufficiently lost that the wildcat, in the wild, will eventually become extinct, based on past and current performance. It will then no longer get in the way of human “progress” but be managed by us in captive breeding programs. And these programs will inevitably fail because the wildcat and particularly the large wildcats cannot live in captive states, they need space and we have taken it.