The Beast Kills

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Predators have come to symbolize all things bad and evil. With their razor-like teeth and bloody claws, these creatures are shunned because of their apparent cruel and ruthless nature. Characters like Wile E. Coyote and the wolf from little red riding hood have reinforced this belief and at a young age, I had nothing but hate and disliking for these creatures.

It is only now, that I begin to understand their complex nature and appreciate these beasts for the work they do, without which I am sure our world would be doomed.

When a coyote pub is born, he is with his brothers and sisters. The mother is with them in their den—their home. The father will bring food to the family and help protect them from other predators and a whole year is spent raising the pubs, teaching them how to hunt, how to socialize. They hunt larger prey in groups, but can also take down smaller prey, like mice and lizards, solo. They do it for food—for their survival. It may not be obvious at first, and even ironic, but predators also play a huge role in the survival of their prey species. At first glance, they seem to be only doing harm but really, they are ensuring a healthy and prosperous species in the long run. By culling vulnerable prey i.e. the old, the sick, the predator fulfills its role in natural selection, ensuring that the fittest live on. I repeat the words of Barbara Kingsolver, “Predation’s a sacrament…it culls out the sick and the old, keeps populations from going through their own roofs. Predation is honorable.”

Predators influence, even control many aspects of their preys’ lives. From where they live, to how they live and sometimes seemingly unrelated aspects of their lives, like which diseases break out, are also affected. This influence has broader, unreachable implications as it goes down to defining the nature of a habitat, or even an ecosystem. Thus their work is important, not only to their survival but the survival of the community.

I realize that in many ways, we too are predators, but as we settle in societies where the true act of predation is removed, it is easy to ignore or even forget this reality. But I remind you, even if you haven’t slit the throat of a chicken, at the end of the day it is served at the table and you indulge in its flavors no less than a coyote savors freshly killed lamb. I agree, we do not have sharp teeth or claws but how different are we when we replicate those tools and create knives, arrows and guns?


Written by Foqia Shahid | Cover Image from PlayStation Store

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