When we think of pets here in the United States, we think of tiny or large furry or scaly, creatures we can cuddle up to for the length of their lives. We exchange our affection, donate our attention and even pamper some. Their significance in our western world is much like kin. Yet, the attitude or ideal of “pet” in this way is not the case across the world where families similarly keep animals for various purposes, like protection.
In the Eastern forests of Brazil the Awá people keep baby forest animals. They cuddle, nurture, feed and then see their pets return back to the forest all on their own. While hunting, they sometimes recognize the very creatures they raised and due to their bond, these creatures are spared.
I can remember the birds chattering in the backyard every morning before school, and seeing tiny squirrels burying their acorns just before winter. They’d developed a fright of us. We’d both stare, curiously at each other for a few seconds before continuing on to our own tasks for the day. But, it never dawned on us that perhaps humans and creatures in the wild might have actually had a very positive relationship.
We are amazed by the Awá people, and would love to hear of any stories you have to share about your relationships with the animals in your own backyard!
Just a few years ago over 50,000+ people came together to help stop the illegal logging happening in forest that threatened the lives of this entire tribe. You can learn a little more about their story here.