Wildlife tragedy in Zanesville Ohio, death of Big Cats, endangered species, protect wildlife.
The recent tragic loss of 48 big cats and other wild animals in Ohio where Thompson a wildlife collector released his trophies then shot himself sent chills down my spine. I cannot fathom how someone could do something like that. Collect then destroy!
My daughters tease me about my array of baskets. It never fails that the unusual thrift store basket finds its way home with me.
So what do you collect?
Owls, treasure chests, power tools, antique dolls, chess sets, dogs, cats….?
It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I was invited into a widow lady’s home, that I learned about cat hoarding and that some collections are not a good thing.
So what drives us to collect or hoard?
According to James L. Halperin (a professional rare coin dealer) the most common reasons people collect things include:
1. Knowledge and learning
2. Relaxation and stress reduction
3. Personal pleasure (including appreciation of beauty, and pride of ownership)
4. Social interaction with fellow collectors and others (i.e. the sharing of pleasure and knowledge)
5. Competitive challenge
6. Recognition by fellow collectors and perhaps even non-collectors
7. Altruism (since many great collections are ultimately donated to museums and learning institutions)
8. The desire to control, possess and bring order to a small (or even a massive) part of the world
9. Nostalgia and/or a connection to history
10. Accumulation and diversification of wealth (which can ultimately provide a measure of security and freedom)
A librarian suggests that a person “may collect things in order to create his or her own identity. In exactly the same way, an institution like a church or a museum may collect things in order to create a corporate identity.”
Could collecting have more to do with what’s happening inside?
As a former psychotherapist the psychology of collecting is of interest to me. Psychologist Werner Muensterberger in his book, “Collecting: An Unruly Passion: Psychological Perspectives“, says that control of the object collected brings “relief of the child’s anxiety and frustration that comes with feeling helpless and being alone.”
Interpreted that means, that my basket collection may have more to do with how comfortable I feel in my own skin than anything else. I have noticed this to be quite true in most cases. I can walk away from a basket much more readily when I’m doing well, even able to give my favorites away, well, at least one or two!
I don’t know what caused Thompson to collect wild animals, or what led him to kill himself and put his community at risk by releasing the animals. What I am convinced of is that it was driven by inner pain of some kind.
May this be a wakeup call to the authorities that regulate animal collectors of both the wild and domestic kind as it appears that sooner or later these situations unravel for both human and animal alike.