Male American Wigeon / "Thou Shalt Not Steal"

Male American Wigeon - Thou Shalt Not Steal

The American Wigeon is a common and widespread duck that breeds in Canada and Alaska. The drake has a white or cream-colored forehead and a distinctive green mask around its eyes.

American Wigeons, like other dabbling ducks feed mainly at the surface of the water, but prefer leaves and roots of submerged vegetation. They often mix with coots and other diving ducks and steal pieces of vegetation brought to the surface by these species. For this reason Wigeon is also known as "the poacher".

The eighth of the Ten Commandments is "You shall not steal". Although somewhat controversial, only two of the Ten Commandments, "You shall not murder" and "You shall not steal" are echoed in current American Law. Therefore the Wigeon and the Bold Eagle are guilty as charged...

You can add morality to the list of characteristics once assumed to be exclusively human. Emerging research in Sociobiology has "demonstrated that, though human social behaviors are complex, the precursors of human morality can be traced to the behaviors of many other social animals".

Are we really morally superior to animals? Or, is our sense of morality simply a hypocrisy? While we convict individuals for stealing vegetables from a supermarket, corporate crime running into billions of dollars is scarcely investigated and is rarely punished... The fact is, a great number of us are "poachers" much like the Wigeon. Despite our Laws, despite a commandment from God, and despite our "superior" sense of morality, we steal, we shoplift, we embezzle, we defraud, we loot and we pillage. And as long as we do not get caught, we continue to preach.
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