When you look at the tame and wild animals we have today, we think of the carnivores as the most horrifying and scary of these animals. The herbivores are considered dangerous if provoked. They do not actually hunt you down as a source of food as their meat-eating counterparts do.
This is known as the balance of life. But the herbivores don’t seem to agree since they do not hunt the carnivores for food. But to avenge the countless lives of their companions that are hunted and killed down every day, they do not spare the offspring of any of the carnivores if they come across them.
But what if the tables were turned? What If the herbivores became the carnivores and the other way round? Would the wild still have turned out the way it has? Would the so called balance of life, where the carnivores are the hunters and herbivores, the prey? Would we still have herbivores anyway?
Maybe we would, maybe we would not, but what is sure, the wild would be very different. Imagine with me for a second that the elephant, the rhino, the buffalo, the zebra, the wildebeest and the giraffe were all carnivores. Now imagine the lion, the cheetah, the leopard, the wild dogs and the hyenas were all herbivores. How would the wild be?
If the elephant was a carnivore, it would need to eat a lot of meat to keep its massive appetite at bay. This would mean that the herbivores would have to be many in number so as to feed the multiple elephants around. It would also mean that human beings would leave in total fear owing to the fact that the elephant cannot be contained by the ordinary fences we have today especially if they were on the hunt.
If you think that is bad, now assume that the mighty and aggressive buffalo was a carnivore. All it is known for would be multiplied by ten. Its great strength, power and agility would be used as unique skills for a hunting expedition. It would also have sharp teeth and claws which would make it a formidable enemy to face.
But what I think would be the most frightening carnivore of all is the wildebeest. As it is currently, the wildebeest is already ugly and scary. With added claws, sharp teeth and built in confidence, the wildebeest would be a wrecking ball unleashed onto an old building. Now for the bone chilling part, the countless thousands and thousands of wildebeest in the Maasai Mara and the Serengeti National Parks would all be blood thirsty killers.
On a lighter side the carnivores turned herbivores wouldn’t be much of a threat to us human beings but we would already have enough to worry about. It seems like nothing would change if it actuality happened but upon a closer review things would be very different.
Imagine again if the cheetah was a herbivore that means it would still have its speed so it would not be your ordinary prey. The only way any carnivore would catch this animal is through team work and perseverance. Since the cheetah cannot run at top speed for long, this would mean any animal with enough stamina would be a dangerous predator.
The lion, the hyena and the wild dogs would not be that different – with the exception of missing their signature sharp teeth and claws. They would be another pride of herbivores and another pack of herbivores, eating grass and other vegetative matter. Would the lions, with their current confidence and roar, be able to intimidate their predators?
With this new reality, a lot in the wild would change. For instance, what would we call the great wildebeest migration? Maybe the great lion, hyena or leopard migration? Imagine thousands and thousands of lions migrating – that would be a sight to behold.
Another change would be the enormous fear all the animals would live in if some of the above animals were actually carnivores. All the national parks would be barricaded with strong metallic or stone walls to keep animals like the elephant, rhino and buffalo from causing mayhem in the neighbouring communities.
Another question I ask myself is whether the Nairobi National Park would still exist. With such dangerous animals in it, would a national park located so close to human settlement and that near to the capital city be viable any more? Imagine the cost to the Kenya Wildlife Service in compensation fees payouts. How about the Nairobi Animal Orphanage? With such dangerous animals, would we still have the compassion to preserve them?
When I look at how the wild is structured, I begin to appreciate God’s wisdom in the balance He has created in nature so it can be habitable for all the animals. I am grateful that a lion is a carnivore and an elephant is a herbivore. In my opinion, the tables should never be turned. What do you think? Post your comments below.
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