I would like to stop for a few moments and reflect on the primordial sentiments that other species, not at the top of the food chain, experience.
At a time when I was perusing the forest, I had this sudden encounter with the deer. We both froze and for a moment we fearfully looked into each other’s eyes. As I slowly concluded it was more of a surprise rather than fear that kept the deer still, I gently raised my camera and shot a single frame.
I was the first to back away, step by step, while maintaining eye contact. In a split second the deer was gone. Not a single moment could I recognize fear in its eyes, but I now realize how wrong was I.
The whole experience made me contemplate how little primordial fear, or none at all, us humans, go through in our time. And how common is for such innocent animals to experience it.
Now imagine for a second that you are not at the top of the food chain. Imagine yourself diving deep into shark-infested waters, without protective gear. Imagine yourself walking into the thick bear country, without bear spray or gun.
If you find yourself into such situation, sheer terror will instantly propel you away from the danger of being eaten. Unless you have experienced it, such trauma is beyond our comprehension for most of us. Such trauma is beyond the range of our common human experience.
Reflecting further, I realized that deer, like any other animal species, are constantly experiencing fear. Their realization and understanding of danger may be different than ours, much simpler – for lack of a better word, and mostly instinctual. At the same time, it is so real.
The same need for self-preservation applies to them as much as it applies to us.
Complex reasoning pushed us humans to the top of the food chain. Stirring fundamental instincts, however, tunes our understanding of the non-human animal to a whole different level.
The single photograph taken of the Red Deer Female in discussion:
Click on the Red Deer Female photograph to view and download a larger version on your computer.