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Marc MacGyver

Did Attenborough's BBC Earth team take the right course of action?

Question of ethics  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. Were the actions of BBC Earth crew correct?

    • Yes - Leaving the penguins to die is inhumane
      13
    • No - Nature must run its course (Special circumstances apply to endangered species)
      5


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Quote

Sir David Attenborough would have rescued the penguins at the centre of Sunday's episode of Dynasties, the show's executive producer says.

The latest BBC nature series, fronted by the broadcaster, saw the crew step in to help a number of trapped birds.

Mike Gunton, the series executive producer, told the BBC: "I was speaking to David about it yesterday and he said he would have done the same too."

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-46261959

(From this series)

 

Emperor Penguin Aptenodytes forsteri  - Conservation Status - (Near Threatened / Population Stable)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Did the wildlife filmmakers break the code?

 

Edited by Marc MacGyver

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Providing the tools (ramp) for them to survive is different than picking them up and physically moving them to safety.

Although, I think either would've been ok. Not like they killed a lion because it was trying to eat a gazelle.

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3 hours ago, Malfatron said:

they should have edited it like the penguins dug the trench

Legit lol’d 😂 

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I guess I’m not following along. Why would not helping them and letting them all die be justifiable? I don’t get why this is worth arguing lol. 

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7 hours ago, Tyty said:

I guess I’m not following along. Why would not helping them and letting them all die be justifiable? I don’t get why this is worth arguing lol. 

It's the whole "let nature take its course/only the strong survive" mantra. I'm on the fence, but am too apathetic to care one way or another. Save 'em, don't save 'em... Eh, what's on BBC4? When's that new Peaky Blinders gonna drop?

However, if these penguins get shotguns and sniper rifles... They made a mistake that we're all going to pay for.

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2 hours ago, ET80 said:

It's the whole "let nature take its course/only the strong survive" mantra. I'm on the fence, but am too apathetic to care one way or another. Save 'em, don't save 'em... Eh, what's on BBC4? When's that new Peaky Blinders gonna drop?

However, if these penguins get shotguns and sniper rifles... They made a mistake that we're all going to pay for.

tenor.gif?itemid=3846353

I’d say it’s the responsibility of the strong to help out the weak (penguins) when they’re intruding on their space. Almost demented to come across some animals doomed for death, record them, then move on lol

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1 minute ago, Tyty said:

I’d say it’s the responsibility of the strong to help out the weak (penguins) when they’re intruding on their space. Almost demented to come across some animals doomed for death, record them, then move on lol

I don't disagree, but I also understand the other argument:

Nature, in all of its infinite wisdom and understanding that goes beyond our time on this planet? She made her decision. Those animals would have died if left to the natural order. Those animals made an incorrect decision, and now their genes will not continue - which could be a service to the entirety of the species, as weaker genes are now removed from the population. 

But ultimately - apathy to either side. Understand both views, don't care about either view to take either side. 

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Fine with the decision. Not the reasoning.

Quote

  Gunton said that 99.9% of the time it was not appropriate to intervene

I don't see how this instance is the 0.1% to their standard modus operandi of let nature take its course. The reasoning here is inconsistent.

Severe antarctic weather blows emperor penguin mothers & their chicks into an inescapable ravine of ice (A death trap). That's the very definition of a natural occurrence, & likely a fairly common one.  

It might not be the same as blocking the path of hunting lions in pursuit with your safari vehicle, so prey animals can make an escape. However, following their logic, how is it different from using tools to dig wells / trenches to uncover ground water for animals suffering during severe drought? Or, perhaps, using tools to create wider channels / pathways on steep river banks to prevent so many wildebeest from being crushed due to bottle-necking on the great migration? 

There is no reasonable explanation as to why the above scenarios shouldn't warrant the same kind of intervention.

His logic is flawed. The likely explanation for their actions is it's tough filming the often brutal events of nature. It seems the incident greatly affected the crew emotionally, prompting them to take action & intervene.  

I'm fine with that, but the exceptional case / circumstance justification isn't genuine. It seems like some form of brand protection by the BBC Earth production team.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm not against intervention if it's considered & follows sound reasoning.  

The above lioness suffered what would have been a fatal injury in an encounter with cape buffalo. She was saved from an agonisingly slow & painful death by veterinarians from an elephant rehabilitation centre. The logic is simple - African lions are classified as vulnerable / threatened - Their population has been on the decline - The decline can be directly attributed to various forms of human activity. The staff at the reserve rightfully intervened to save the lioness as a small measure to combat the population decline. They would not have done the same if the roles were reversed & the cape buffalo lay lame. 

I've seen a similar account where a young sub-adult cheetah (Same conservation status as the lion) was lame & unable to get to her feet. She had collapsed & was being swarmed by ants. She was facing certain death - one of the worst imaginable, but yet still perfectly natural. However, park officials intervened & she was given a second chance. The same logic as above applied, & once again if it had been a non-threatened species it would have been left to the ants.       

The above accounts are examples of human intervention to offset human interference / impact in ecological systems. That imo is the best, & perhaps the only ethical grounds for intervention.    

Edited by Marc MacGyver

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27 minutes ago, ET80 said:

I don't disagree, but I also understand the other argument:

Nature, in all of its infinite wisdom and understanding that goes beyond our time on this planet? She made her decision. Those animals would have died if left to the natural order. Those animals made an incorrect decision, and now their genes will not continue - which could be a service to the entirety of the species, as weaker genes are now removed from the population. 

But ultimately - apathy to either side. Understand both views, don't care about either view to take either side. 

I gotcha. I’m only invested in this cause I clicked the thread, don’t otherwise have an undying wish that penguins have their best lives or whatever. It was their intelligence that got them stuck but it was their luck that let humans come upon them. 

My parents raised me to always leave something better than you found it so letting nature run it’s course isn’t in my wheelhouse. Impho

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