For many of the human species, the connection to Nature becomes more distant with each moment, and so our ability to bond with other life on the planet becomes difficult if not impossible. But taking time to reconnect can enrich our lives, and we can learn much from our animal brethren. " Humans have lost that connection with animals, that familiarity with animals, and that's one of the things Hawk Creek works on." Says Tanya Lowe of Hawk Creek Wildlife Center. " Because the farther we get from it, the more we realize that we're missing something in our lives and a lot of people unfortunately don't even know what that is. They're searching for something, but they don't know what, and the answer is right outside their back door.">
For Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, one of those answers is literally out their back door. Meisha is a fourteen year old African Serval currently living at the center in East Aurora. She came here recently after her life long owner had to give her up. These big cats have long been thought to be incapable of forming new bonds after a young age, but Lowe says Meisha is proving that old myth to be very wrong." It was very exciting to see this animal's ability to adapt, and to see the situation she was she was in, and to accept the situation and she seemed to kind of say, let's make the best of this, let's make this work. So she's made tremendous progress."
Taking in a large wild cat is no easy task and despite her acceptance there are many challenges involved. The foundation of this relationship must be a strong one, and rooted in mutual respect." She's never going to be a cuddly pet. She's a wild animal, and I know that and I respect her for that.I also have to trust her to a certain degree I'm feeding her by hand, she's got teeth, so that takes an element of trust, and a lot of times people don't think about that, trust is a two way street."
Lowe tells 2 The Outdoors that communication is an obvious key to this relationship, but bridging that gap takes time and unique insight." She's a very expressive cat, very communicative. We saw a little bit how she's got different hisses and they all mean different things. People see a hiss and they automatically think it's something bad. "
For now, Meisha has a warm home indoors at the centers new facility, but come spring the big cat will get to explore outdoors and move into a roomier new enclosure. In the meantime, the bond between Meisha and her new family strengthens, and the knowledge gained will go far to help others transcend the barrier between Man and Nature." I get to learn something new every day from or about these animals" Explains Lowe " And you know at this point we sometimes think that nothing is going to surprise or amaze us anymore, and that's usually when the universe says, well guess what ? Again, that's the wonderful thing about Nature."