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The carnivore predator often attracts our admiring attention for its strength, naturally equipped weapons of offence and hunting strategies, its ability to overpower and kill its prey. The mighty lion is proclaimed king of beasts. We marvel at the knife like long canines of the large cats, their retractable claws on paws as broad as the face of their victims, their enormous size and muscular strength and deafening roars. The cat is cute but equally lethal when it strikes its prey with lightening speed. We are astonished by the athletic speed of the cheetah in chase and the aerial jet like flight of the raptors, outpacing any flying creature, in mid-air kills, when the force of their huge talons snuff the life out of the victim with the force of a canon’s shrapnel when it strikes. Likewise the marine monsters, Sharks, Swordfish and Killer Whales and riverine mobs of piranhas  and catfish become our awesome nightmares, armed to the teeth literally for their grisly purpose. These masters of the land, sea and air evoke amazement, respect and awe for their strength and prowess.

But the question arises whether they are indeed more fortunate than their prey, the herbivore deer, antelope, wildebeest, horse and cow or their avian counterparts who rely on seed for nourishment, or again the species of fish who subsist on weeds and plankton, like the gentle giant the humpback whale or its terrestrial counterpart the elephant. Does the strength and fury of predators make them more fortunate than the rest of the animal kingdom?

Both are fundamentally motivated by the perpetual need to seek sustenance and nutrition in the food they consume. While the herbivore and plant and seed eating beings consume simply by grazing or foraging, their aggressive predatory counterparts do not have it so easy. They need to employ guile, give chase, overcome the prey at some risk to themselves in a kind of wrestling match, overpower and kill their prey every time they need a meal. The amount of energy required to graze stands in no comparison to the energy expended in chase, catching, overcoming and killing their mobile food and often the food escapes and they are left hungry. To have to hunt for food is a strenuous excercise which when compared with the virtually effortless grazing and foraging can only be seen as a punishing necessity, no less than a curse imposed on these regal beings, which I would like to term as the Carnivores’ Curse.

I would rather be a sparrow than a hawk, a humpback rather than a shark, a gazelle than a tiger.

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