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{22/12/2012}   Why I can no longer watch nature programmes

The other day, I was TV channel hopping and came across a polar bear cub looking adorable on the ice with his mum.  I love polar bears so I kept it on.  I started enjoying it and wondered why I hadn’t watched a nature programme for so long.  Then it all came back to me and I ended up having to turn off “Snow Babies”.

The truth is that I cannot watch killing between animals or animals being mean to each other.  The point at which I realised I couldn’t bear to watch nature programmes was during an episode of the stunningly amazing The Blue Planet where whales were not only killing seals but (oh, I can picture it and I feel sad again) flinging them into the air and playing with their dead and dying bodies.  I hated it.  There is enough cruelty in the human world without having to see the parallels in the animal/mammal/bird world.  That was it.  I turned that programme off in horror and distress and haven’t watched a wildlife programme since.

I was lulled by the baby animals/birds, particularly as they were all snow-dwelling.  All was going well, and indeed I don’t think they did or were going to show any baby creature deaths, but I faltered when an eagle took a very, very young caribou who had been running along the snow with his mum and family and friends.  Admittedly I didn’t see the death but it was a bit upsetting.  But I persevered.  Then there were cute bits – arctic foxes learning to pounce on ice, baby macaques all fuzzy headed, more polar bear cub lollops – and I got lured back in.  Then, there was a penguin incident whereby a little penguin, a young scamp, set off without his mum and waddled amidst the 80,000 identical penguins.  He got lost and kept crying.  I needed to know his mum would find him but he’d been heading out for quite a while.  It wasn’t looking good.  Then it got worse because some penguin mums had lost their offspring and were desperate to care for a baby so they set upon him.  All these hormone-charged girl penguins bundled in, stamping on him and squishing him.  I was transfixed in utter horror.  Then the narrator said he was just about done for, at which point he emerged from the scrum, having been kicked/shoved, and he was lying virtually unconscious.  I was so utterly upset … then his mum came charging through and scooped him up in her baby penguin carrier area and he was saved.  At which point I needed a sherry to calm my nerves!  Seriously though, I found it unbelievably upsetting.

I turned off after his rescue.  I don’t know why I find it so hard to watch.  Maybe it is because you can understand some of their actions and I guess, kind of annoyingly, you humanise them.  But I guess I like the fluffy lovely side of the animal kingdom as that’s kind of escapism.  So ultimately it looks like I’m more Disney than Attenborough, which I do find quite a disturbing revelation!

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