Our relationships with wildlife are sorely in need of Divine restoration.
I write these words from the heart of the Himalayas. The days are shortening as autumn turns firmly into winter, and the ice creeps down from the snowclad peaks onto the valley floors. In many ways, life goes on here as it has these many centuries: the harvest has been safely gathered in and people are preparing for the long, hard winter. In other ways, the advent of roads, airstrips and telecommunications now allow these communities unprecedented access to the outside world, and vice versa.
This setting is also the backdrop for another age-old custom: that of conflict between man and beast. The herds of livestock – yaks, horses, goats and sheep – that many people across the Himalayan region depend on for their livelihoods can be an attractive proposition to hungry predators, especially when their natural prey is scarce. Wolf, bear, lynx and snow leopard can all kill domestic animals across the Himalayan region. Not only does this threaten the wellbeing of households and communities, but also the persistence of these wildlife species, as they face potential retaliation from irate villagers.