Why Do We Do It?

I recently ran across a little story that says exactly why wildlife rehabilitators do what they do. I'd like to share it with you:

The Star Thrower Story by Joel Barker

There's a story I would like to share with you. It was inspired by the writing of Loren Eiseley. Eiseley was a very special person because he combined the best of two cultures. He was a scientist and a poet. And from those two perspectives he wrote insightfully and beautifully about the world and our role in it.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man, much like Eiseley himself, who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn't dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he called out, "Good morning! What are you doing?" The young man paused, looked up and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I guess I should have asked, Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?"

"The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don't throw them in they'll die."

"But young man, don't you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can't possibly make a difference!"

The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. "It made a difference for that one!"

I've been a wildlife rehabilitator about 15 years and have talked with many other rehabbers. Do we always have to try and save an endangered species? No, most rehabbers aren't trying to save a species from extinction. Why don't we just "let nature take its course?" Why do we feel compelled to rescue injured and orphaned wildlife? Maybe it's just the right thing to do. Yes, many of the animals we care for are plentiful but does that really make them any less important? As the writer above says, it does make a difference to that animal when we have the power to intervene and do something that is a deciding factor as to whether that animal lives or dies.

Why Do We Do It?

Commenting on the entry on why we do rehab.

I do not understand how anyone can look down upon an animal, look into it's eyes, feel it's need and refuse to help it if it is in their power to do so. And the numbers do not matter at that point, it is one-on-one. The question to me is not why do we do it, it is why would anyone not do it.