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Lurking Danger

Lurking Danger

8 mins 22.3K 8 mins 22.3K

"That was heavy. I'll take a nap for a while,” thought Adriana to herself as she looked around for a nice, comfortable place to sleep. The summer was leaving and the winter was fast approaching, even she could feel the changes in herself. As she lay down, she was immersed in her own train of thoughts. “I have gained so much weight. Now, I have to even start building den for my little children," a smile crept slowly on her face, the thought of having her own children made her ecstatic all the time.


Around her, there were others of her kind, trying to hunt down on their preys as the carcass of the seal that Adriana had just taken was left unattended to on the right side of her. These were the world's largest land-based predators, the polar bears. Adriana, a female polar bear, was born six years ago in her den that was a few miles from where she was sleeping. She also had a brother but she had lost both him and her mother to the dark times in which they were living. She was left on her own but the loss had made her determined to face the world as bravely as she could. So here she was, sleeping peacefully, ignorant of the dangers that had grown and fed on the wrong doings of humans to become huge demons.

          

   As the fall was approaching to an end, Adriana finished building her own den on the snow banks. She put in every love, care and patience she could in building a small heaven for her children. When she was done with her work, she stood up and saw it with a new spark in her eyes. Her eyes drifted to the den next to hers, she felt a tug at her heart. Her eyes welled up, she willed herself to move to that den but somehow her courage had always failed. It was like moving into the past. To make it special for her children, she had built their den next to her mother's den where she was born. She was again feeling helpless maybe because she was going to have her children in the same dark times, but now she could do nothing. She looked back at her den, ready to begin her new journey.

          

 

  She remained inside as winter struck and the snow covered the entrance to her den. Inside the den, it was warm. By early January, Adriana gave birth to two cubs. They were covered with little hair and weighed very less. As she held them in her hands, she felt out of the world, naming them Maria and Nanu after her mother and brother. Her motherly feelings grew stronger and an unconditional bond was formed with her little children. They were just as she had imagined them to be, completing her perfect little family. "It seems as if it was just yesterday when I was born and my mother must have held me close to her heart as I hold these two," she spoke out softly as she cradled them comfortably in her arms.

        


 Within two months, her cubs increased in weight and started playing around in their den. One day, Nanu approached Adriana, skipping along lightly, as he came.

         “Momma, let’s go out and you can show me everything that you talk about.”

         "Momma, we can also go to grandmother’s house that you keep saying about,” Maria shouted as she came running from the other chamber. Adriana also had to end her months-long fast, but she wanted "the outside" to be safer for her children so she nodded and said,” We will go out but after a few days, okay?” Both the cubs made sad faces and sat down in front of her.

         Nanu was the first to speak up, “Momma don’t worry I will protect you and my sister when we go out.” He stepped closer and hugged his mom. Adriana laughed and said,” Of course you will, such a brave and strong son you are.” She engulfed both Maria and Nanu in a big hug. Soon enough the plan of going outside was forgotten and the three of them were busy laughing and talking as Adriana lay comfortably on the floor.

         “Momma, why is our grandmother not with us?” asked Nanu, unexpectedly, in the middle of a mock fight with Maria.

         Adriana’s smile faded away. She knew that this moment would come when she would have to answer her own children, which might terrify them. 

         Nevertheless, she wanted them to be strong and safe so she decided to tell them the whole incident. She put on a brave face, sat straight and started. “The whole thing is harsh and not good but I want both of you to listen to it very carefully and like brave children, as you are, face it while I speak. “ She paused to see the reactions. Nanu and Maria had stopped their fight, sitting close to each other, attentive and looked up at her intently. Adriana could not help but smile as she observed their obedience, but she did have a tough task right then.

          “It was a beautiful day as your grandmother had killed a seal after a long span of months and I tasted it for the first time with my brother. It felt delicious. After that, we were playing with your grandmother near the den. Suddenly, we heard noises so your grandmother took all of us and came into the den. She asked us not to worry so we started to play in the den only. After some time, my brother wanted to go out and play but I was sleepy. Therefore, your grandmother took him out while I slept in my chamber. After some time, I heard a loud cry. I ran outside but I could not see anyone around.


Again, I heard a cry and sobbing noises coming from a distance. This time I ran towards it and saw dangerous looking humans dragging your grandmother away while blood was dripping from her. Her eyes already had lost their colour and life. Next to them was a small human who looked like their child. He had my sobbing brother trapped in a cage. When my brother saw me, he shouted out to me “Adriana, run and hide in your den and grow safe.” I saw the dejected look in his eyes as he said this. So I ran away to fulfil my family's wishes,” Adriana wiped her tears as she stopped. It had been so long but she could not understand why anybody’s child would take the other child away.

         "That's how I lost my family; the world is a dangerous place. Gone are the days, when we were the royal bears of this place," she shook her head as she continued. She looked down at her own beautiful children and smiled at them.

          “Momma, we are there for you," both Nanu and Maria chorused and leapt towards Adriana.

       

   Meanwhile, in the parallel world of humans, the scientists sat tensed around the table. According to the latest monitoring reports, another huge swab of glacier in the Arctic had broken off. Things were fast moving out of control but all they could do now was to sit around the table and pondering over the issue. However, little did they know the melting ice had already created havoc in Adriana’s “perfect little family.” Adriana sensed a quiver in the floor below her, never before she had faced anything close to this. The quiver slowly changed into trembling. Following her basic instinct, she rushed towards her children. All of them moved out and it was not a pleasant sight. The floor below them was breaking off into the water underneath and they were surrounded by cold water with small swabs of ice floating turbulently in it.


The sea ice had retreated towards the north and Adriana had to swim a long distance to reach a safe place. Determined, she carried her children in her arms, plunged into the water and made her way. The cubs had not grown big enough to sustain in the harsh conditions for long. Long known to us the famous proverb, "survival of the fittest" had again proved correct. Adriana lost both her children. By the time, she could reach her destination; she also drowned due to exhaustion and lack of food.

       

  This is what we, humans, have done. As we sit worrying about our family members, other’s families are being destroyed because of our activities. The polar bears are already listed as “vulnerable-facing a high risk of extinction in the wild” by WWF and they suffer because of global warming, excessive hunting, the toxic pollution and oil exploration. If we can take corrective measures, we can stop it and prevent them from getting extinct. But our greed and selfish interests are not just depleting natural resources but also putting the wildlife and nature at a great risk. Let's wake up and join forces to conserve what we have in hand and protect it from danger in the future.


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