The sea lions, pelicans, iguanas, sea turtles, giant tortoises, and many other creatures on the Galapagos Islands live in peace together with “most” human beings. My wife and I were fortunate to take a tour of the islands to see places and wildlife unlike anywhere else on earth. The most amazing thing was how those birds and animals have evolved to adapt to the harsh conditions and the arrival of humans. Ships carrying pirates and other seamen searching for fresh water and food were the first to discover the Galapagos archipelago, created from volcanoes and spanning the equator 600 miles west of Ecuador. The giant tortoises are almost the size of a small car and live to be 180 – 200+ years old. The seamen took them for food and almost led them to extinction. Since then, the “new humans” who now inhabit the islands have saved them and they now flourish.
Having grown up on the Seneca Indian Reservation adjacent to the Alleghany National Forest, River and Mountains, I was exposed to the animals, birds and fish. Animals have an outstanding ability to adapt to their environment. Wild turkeys have great eyesight, but not hearing; white tail deer have exceptional hearing and sense of smell, but not good vision. During the last 60+ years of hunting, I’ve noticed the deer and turkeys foraging together, each taking advantage of their strengths for mutual safety.
In the opening of this editorial, I mentioned “most” humans. During our trip, there was a couple that time after time infringed on the “space” of the animals to pose for photo opportunities. I mentioned to the couple that animals and birds are not afraid of humans and to treat them with respect – to no avail. For thousands, and perhaps millions of years these animals, birds and fish have lived in harmony – maybe we should learn from them.
Luis R. Lee
Seneca name: Guin Yah Geyh
Co-editor of the month