What makes wildlife interesting? For me, there are a couple characteristics that distinguish specific species from others and make them more appealing to me to observe in their natural habitat.
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
– Anna Karenina Principle, as proposed by Jared Diamond
In Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond speculates that all species of domesticated animal share six proposed characteristics. The combination of all six characteristics indicates that the species lends itself to being domesticated. If a species lacks one of these characteristics, it has the same likelihood as being domesticated as a species with none of the requirements. Anna Karenina.
Maybe you can see where this is heading. If you were expecting something profound, I suspect you will be disappointed. I have obviously tailored this list to a brown bear.
A species must have the following characteristics to be considered “interesting”, at least until my bear obsession passes.
- Rarity – what is the prevalance of this species?
- Danger Factor – can it kill, or at least seriously maim a human?
- Human-ness (can we project “human emotions” on their behaviors?)
- Canine-ness (can we project “dog emotions” on their behaviors?)
- Intelligence/ stuff it eats (food)
With that established, lets go a bit deeper. Given these characteristics, it is never wise to set expectations unreasonably high before venturing on a wildlife trip. If your hopes are set too high, you will often find yourself disappointed by what is perceived as a poor showing….this leads into my next post about Katmai National Park..