Yay or nay: OK to befriend wild animals?
The Oscar-nominated documentary film My Octopus Teacher was a wonderful film to watch but I do wonder about the ethics. First, I am posting here (not CS) because I see this as a debate about wildlife, and could pose the same question if the movie had never been made. We could ask the same question about Dian Fossey’s work with wild gorillas.
An underwater photographer develops a year-long relationship with an octopus, filming the whole thing, because he just films everything. Afterwards the idea occurs to him to make a movie from that footage, and directors come in to interview him for narration and select and edit the footage. Result: Oscar material.
He initially sees this octopus and returns to visit it every day. Eventually the octopus comes to trust him. He reaches out, and one of eight arms reaches back to meet him and wrap around his hand.
I am no wildlife expert but every time I visit a national park they tell you if a wild animal is reacting to you, you’re too close.
Was it OK for this guy to break all the rules just because he was very comfortable in this environment? Or is it really not a rule at all? There were some lines he didn’t cross, but he definitely was much more than a detached observer of nature.