I used to obsess over spotting wild cats in their natural habits. Leopards, tigers or jungle cats, it didn’t matter. I would feel like a fortunate son of the earth as long as it had whiskers. While I gave up the search in favour of bird-watching, the felidae family members continued to haunt me.
Even now, when I explore the hills of south India, I keeps my ears open for an untamed roar. A guttural cough maybe. Any sign that a darling of the feline variety is on the prowl.
I haven’t seen a single one though. Just pug-marks and poop. But I can’t complain. I have had the privilege of seeing many other gorgeous beasts. Considering that I am not a conservationist or a census assistant, I should just shut up and consider myself a lucky bastard.
From Stripe-Necked Mongooses, Sloth Bears and Flying Squirrels to Monitor Lizards, Malabar Gliding Frogs and as of a few days ago – the Southern Flying Lizard.
He boasted of a yellow dewflap that darted up and down, like a serpentine tongue. Every 20 seconds or so, he disappeared from our sight, by merely inching forward, given how well-camouflaged he was.
The Southern Flying Lizard is a primarily arboreal reptile. Dumeril and Bibron, renowned herpetologists, described it as the Dussumier’s Dragon in their catalogue of reptiles published in 1837. The name – Dussumieri – was in honor of Jean-Jacques Dussumier, a French voyager, who collected zoological specimens in India.
One of the reasons for my wild cat obsession is a specific childhood memory that I can never be sure of. I think I saw a black panther when I was about 10-12 years old. You can read about incident by downloading this:
It’s a free PDF download (no, I don’t want your email ID either).
Also, did you know that a black panther is basically a leopard with melanism, and not a separate sub-species?
source: Conservation India
Black is the sun
that filters through
my wild paramour’s
(Other Photographs: Valparai)