The Oxford University Press chose the word “selfies” as a 2013 Word of the Year! I am sure not one of us has escaped being exposed to the seemingly endless stream of self portraits captured on mobile devices. While most folks try to pose showing off their best side, many of the selfies come out, well a bit out of focus, off center, and sometimes even only showing a part of the person’s face. What CNN described as perhaps the most embarrassing phenomenon of the digital age, has now been recognized by the guardian of the English language.
Panthera’s Leopard Program Is Saving Lives
Two years ago we wrote about a new idea to help save the wild leopard, one of the world’s most persecuted big cats. The beautiful fur of the leopard is highly sought after and to make matters worse, today the demand for leopard skin is increasing among members of South Africa’s Shembe Baptist Church, which has adopted the Zulu practice of wearing spotted cat fur, mostly leopard, during religious celebrations. Even though trade in leopard skins is illegal in South Africa, the Shembe’s estimated 5 million members were spreading the practice.
Tristan Dickerson, Panthera’s Leopard Program Coordinator visited several Shembe gatherings to research the amount of leopard skins being used at these events. It was estimated that nearly 1,000 leopard skins were either worn or being sold at just one of the gatherings that he attended.
Tristan spent a year working with designers and clothing companies to create high quality and affordable fake leopard skins, which he presented at Shembe gatherings. At one event, there was a large number of fake leopard skins being worn by children and elders, and this was a sign of hope for Africa’s leopard populations.
Master of Zoology Graduation Celebration
It was with mixed emotions that we celebrated our graduation from the Master of Zoology program at Miami University. Even though my mom and I spent many many hours in the office reading, thinking and writing, what we were learning was so super interesting it seems the time just flew by.
Into the Field
We had the opportunity to travel to the Baja peninsula to live in the dessert at Rancho San Gregorio and swim in the Sea of Cortez. We visited elephants in Amboseli National Park in the Rift Valley Province of Kenya, dismantled snares with the African Conservation Center Game Scouts, learned to track lions, walked with baboons and lived with the Maasai in Olkiramatian.
The Red Carpet Cat VIP Emmy Blog Tour Has Begun!
Cat of a Different Color
African leopards normally have tawny colored coats with black spots, but an unusual male leopard, with a coat of a different color, has been sighted in the South Africa Madikwe Game Reserve. This leopard has a pink tone to his coat and has been named the “Strawberry Leopard”.