What is your favorite wild animal?
This was a question I posed to a group of business owners that question and the variety was astounding. The intention was to see what types of perceptions were out there and perhaps find a theme to write about.
What was interesting about the whole thing is that often a favorite animal can just as well be a feared animal by another person.
The difference is often simply a matter of perspective and experience.
The same can be said about a business experience, two people can come into your business and have two entirely different experiences.
One may be delighted while the other might be unimpressed.
It is always amazing to watch and listen.
So, back to the animal question, what is your favorite wild animal?
When it comes to my favorite animal(s) it has to do more with the individual creature and what s/he has taught me more than anything else.
My work with a variety of creatures means that I have visceral knowledge of the real critter and not some idealistic or imaginary vision of one. I find a lot of people make assumptions about animals without ever really having met one or even researching about what they might be like.
In the early days, an apprentice had to slave around animals without interactions or verbal communication. The idea was for the person to watch and learn–as well as to allow the animal to decide whether or not it liked the person.
The “old school” way of learning was a form of paying your dues while gleaning valuable information on the way. Today I see a lot of aspiring animal people who have no sense about the animal other than what they think might be accomplished through a specific “insert your method” of training or practice.
The advantage of being around a long time is that it is possible to develop a knowledge and experience base that transcends assumptions or limited exposure. In one of my last wild animal training assignments, trained elephants in a system that was considered cutting edge, but having been through a few other schools of training, I could clearly see the pros and cons.
What I liked about the trend was that it allowed for more margin of freedom and error while providing better safety. One of the reasons for stricter protocols in some systems is for safety.
Now I want to get into the elephant story a bit more but first…why don’t you share your ideas about elephants and let me know what wild animal is your favorite.