A female otter, a much-loved and still rare mammal in the UK, was run over on a nearby road over the weekend, to the great sadness of many environmentalists here where I live in mid-Wales.
It was clear that she had young and had been suckling them before she died, and a number of us went to the river area which had been her home in search of the cubs, which may be starving without her. So far we have had no success, but the search continues.
As I stood in the road where she died I was startled by the number of cars which sped by along a quiet country road in the middle of nowhere, and realised an otter would not stand a chance against that onslaught of traffic, every driver’s face showing total focus on getting to the destination as quickly as possible, no awareness at all for what was occurring around him or her in one of the most beautiful places in Britain.
I have seen it before, owls, badgers, pheasants, rabbits, stoats and even cats killed because people did not care or even thought it was successful sport to kill a living creature in this way. Accidents happen, of course, but much of the road-kill which is evident every day in every country which has roads could have been avoided.
I do not often make specific predictions in public, but I will make one now. One day not so far away man’s proclivity to ignore or abuse nature for his selfish ends will be stopped. There will be no speeding and killing because what has been taken for granted for so long will be scarce and precious; otters and barn owls and other wonderful creatures will own the roads and use them in safety; species endangered to the edge of extinction by pesticides and destruction of habitats will flourish once again; and we the human species which has driven the Planet to exhaustion and depletion will be humbled as we find ourselves, in our need and dependency, bowing before Her. Our lives will revolve around Gaia and all not just the few will recognise Her power.
All then will be right with the world, and, wonderfully, we, the little people, will know it, and be pleased too.