Blog: Carlita the Croc

Survivor: Real Life Edition

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Survivor
was the first.

Then came Man vs. Wild, Naked and Afraid, Survivorman, Dual Survival…and a plethora of other survivalist reality programs.  What they all have in common is man’s (or woman’s, but mostly man’s) attempt to survive the wild with naught but his (or her) muscle and wits!  Gasp! The suspense is nail-biting!  Will they find shelter?  Is there enough food?  Clean water??  How will they survive all the stingy, bitey beasties that inhabit the area???  HOW???

Humans can’t seem to get enough of watching other humans in “life-or-death” situations in which the absence of Wi-Fi and a coffeemaker is a truly challenging scenario.  The truth is, there are plenty of humans who exist, and even thrive in such a lifestyle!  You often call these “hunter-gatherer” societies and they get by just fine, thank you very much.  In fact, the real threat to these societies and their lifestyle is the juggernaut that is industrialization, whether they want it or not.  (Some of them DEFINITELY do not!) 

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San or Bushman of South Africa.  One of the last remaining hunter-gatherer societies.

The rest of humanity tends to confine itself to a limited area (cities) and have their food produced and delivered to them (grocery stores).  They go to jobs or schools.  They focus on their health and wellbeing with the help of professionals (doctors), and engage in extracurricular activities (games and sports) to ensure said health and wellbeing.  Sometimes, for their entertainment, they watch with horror and fascination TV programs about other humans, with no prior experience, pretending to be hunter-gatherers. 

Humans aren’t the only ones who miraculously scrape out a living in “the wild.”  Spoiler alert:  wild animals do, too.  Humans are born with many adaptations to survive and compete in nature.  Arguably, the most important of these adaptations is your giant brain which allows you to be creative, flexible, and learn from others.  This has helped humans be successful in a variety of living conditions, even without modern luxuries.  Other animals, while maybe not as adaptable to changes, come complete with a set of tools (adaptations) to help them survive and compete in their niche, as well. 

But, note that one of the key terms here is “compete,” because that’s what survival is: a competition.  Animals compete for space, because space has food and water.  They compete for mates, because mates mean passing on your genes.  They compete for rank, because rank means protection for you and your offspring.  One false move – an illness or injury, getting lost, finding food in the wrong place – could mean game over.  

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Game over for the zebra, but the hyena will live another day.

Humans will readily recognize that animals are well adapted to survive and thrive in their natural habitat, while forgetting they also possess these abilities.  Conversely, humans also forget that life for wild animals is less like a Disney movie and more like an episode of Survivorman

And like the hunter-gatherers of the world whose resources, culture, and health are threatened by an ever-expanding, technology-driven human society, so are wild animals susceptible to the same threat. 

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Treat each other the way you'd want to be treated!

So my point is, don’t underestimate the abilities humans have to survive without modern comforts and luxuries, and don’t romanticize the life of wild animals as harmonious, plentiful, and free.  If you really want to make a positive impact, strive to make as little of an impact as possible on nature and treat other humans and animals as they want to be treated.

Posted: 5/11/2016 2:27:32 PM by


Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.

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