18 September 2009


the other day i discovered quite by accident the existence of a species of wild felines entirely new to me -- the clouded leopard. i'd known of the african-asian leopard, and the snow leopard of central asia. the clouded leopard is the largest among small to medium sized cats in nature. it was so named because of the elliptical markings edged in black on its body, which sometimes create the illusion of shifting clouds. remarkably, clouded leopards are mainly arboreal hunters, and can hang upside down from tree limbs, as well as descend tree trunks head first.

the range of this elusive cat includes much of forested southeast asia. how i wish that i'd had the chance to see one, during my year in vietnam !!

it is a minor miracle to me that after centuries of humans marginalizing and destroying the natural world, still creatures of mystery remain. the feelings of wonder and discovery help to balance my grief over all the species and habitats that have disappeared just during my lifetime, not to mention the centuries preceding. there are too damned many humans on this planet, by a factor of at least ten, perhaps a hundred, maybe even a thousand. what to do? what to do?

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