It always poses a difficult question — rescue an animal that is clearly about to die, and help relieve its suffering, or let nature take its course?
These beautiful feathers were of the back and wing of a female mallard, Anas platyrhynchos. Mallards are a common duck of North America, the familiar male with his iridescent-green head is easily identified.
This duck was alone, struggling in an icy lake, being harassed by hawks, and in great distress. A friend of mine found the duck close to nightfall, chose to rescue her, and brought her to me for help. The duck was severely injured, and would need to be euthanized.
So again, the implications ran through my thoughts. Letting nature take its course allows valuable food to remain in the chain, so to speak, and I am all for letting animals eat naturally. However, I am sure that plenty of instances occur that never meet (my) human eyes. So when a wild animal is suffering or orphaned, right in front of me, and because I believe that the majority of reasons that animals are injured or orphaned is due to human activity, I feel moved to help.
Have you given any thought to your viewpoint on this question? Feel free to comment below.
A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives. ~Albert Schweitzer
Note: Wildlife rehabilitators provide a much-needed service to the community, and in New Jersey must be licensed to provide wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. NJ State laws do protect individuals that step in to rescue an animal to take it to a NJ licensed rehabilitator. However, many wild animals may appear injured or abandoned, when, in fact, they are not. Call a rehabilitator for advice and support. A current list of licensed rehabilitators in NJ can be found at: http://www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/pdf/rehab_list.pdf