How to be a terrible wildlife enthusiast

My two close friends are wildlife lovers to a degree which is more than normal. Most of my other friends like animals and would be nice enough to pets. But the above mentioned duo has been known to keep snakes in buckets in their room and have a sky high (uh, ok – a two foot high at least) stack of books on wildlife. One of them is trying his hand at capturing them on film while the other is shifting his focus from fauna to flora for the time being. So. This one, being their friend, I get to write.

(I like lists. So I shall make a list here)

# Click pictures.

Yes. We all like photographs. That is why people like Mike Attwood, George McCarthy and Tom & Pat Leeson. But why just take photographs of the animals doing what they are known to do anyway? Be adventurous. Go ahead! Ask the forest guard to make the rhinoceros come closer. Make the tiger pose with your mom and dad. Dress them up in cute little costumes and put the pictures/ videos on YouTube and flickr. Going by the trend, you’ll be the next biggest star on social networking sites.

# Make as much noise as possible.

You could be quiet and watchful and curious. But that can’t be as much fun as being loud and noisy. Scare away those animals. Show them who the boss is. And especially when you see one of those animals which don’t come out too often, shout “Didn’t I tell you I am the luck factor. It had to come out!” So what if it leaves before you can get a decent shot of it? Face it; it was a better kick to shout when no-one expected it. Throw in some crude jokes as an extra.

# Generalise. Always generalise.

You know they are parrots. So why use fancy terms like parakeets for them? Why use a term for them at all. Call them green birds. For all pigeons, call them white birds. I guess calling a peacock by a colour would get a bit difficult but that’s ok. You will surely get some brilliant idea. Call all animals mammals; scream when you see a zebra because they could be dangerous. So could snakes, dogs, orangutans and rabbits.

# Talk.

Have you read some news article where the leopard came into the city and attacked a baby? Ignore the part which says that it had to come out because the jungles have been cut down. Also ignore the fact that it attacked because it was being chased by the slum dwellers close by. Talk. Tell people how ghastly an attack it was. Talk about the times snakes have bitten people. And how every snake has venom strong enough to kill a group of diet-coke fed kids. Villagers would get scared. They will attack more animals. But hey! Why take any moral responsibility to raise awareness when spreading panic is more fun?

# Stay silent where it matters.

You are with a couple of wildlife lovers, hanging out, socializing. They are talking about the last time they went to Kaziranga. Take this opportunity to not tell them that Pobitora might have better rhino sighting opportunities. Someone is going to Sundarban? Ask them to not go close to the place where you fortunately saw a tiger once. Guard your secrets. No matter what they say, you will get a prize for it later.

# Never take notes/ maintain a diary.

That’s for wimps. You have a brilliant memory. You know each and every bird and mammal’s (see previous points about calling them these) name and species and description. You can imitate the call if anyone asks you and you can paint a picture if they want to know how it looks. And why should you waste pages of your diary on this, when you could just as well use the paper to make doodles (or use the battery to play online games, in case of the online diaries).

Follow all these steps. Swear by them. And you shall be an avid wildlife un-enthusiast.  Take my word for it.

Or don’t.

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