Monday, April 23, 2007

No Amour For The Amur Leopard

People can be such morons.

Last week the World Wildlife Federation released a report stating that only 25 to 34 of the beautiful Amur Leopard were left in the wild. Amur leopards are often considered the rarest and most graceful large cat species (though I consider the Tibetan snow leopard more attractive and graceful, personally). It lives in the boreal forests of Korea, northeast China, and eastern Siberia. With so few, though, the likelihood that it will survive as a species is in doubt. It has been nearly wiped out due to logging, farming, poaching, and industry. Of those surviving, only 7 are thought to be females. Why so few? When cats are stressed they tend to have male offspring for some reason.

Today, less than a week later, a report was released that one of the female Amur leopards had been killed:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/04/23/leopard.extinction.reut/index.html

The leopard had actually been killed a few days before the initial WWF report was released. The leopard is protected in most of their region, and the Russian government recently re-routed a proposed pipeline that would have gone through the leopard territory, but this is a case of too little, too late, as far as those governments are concerned.

Now, this most recent leopard kill is particularly stupid. Had it been killed by a very hungry hunter, maybe I would have a shred of understanding. I think of African refugees killing large primates, for instance. I wouldn’t do it, but if someone is starving they might go to that extreme. But the leopard wasn’t killed for food. Further, it wasn’t even killed for the beautiful hide, or even for the bones (which, in China, are ground down for the sake of “medicine”). No, this poor leopard was shot from behind, the bullet shattering the tailbone and lodging in the gut. Then, when the animal was down, the killer beat it to death with a blunt object. He left the carcass to be found after anonymous tips were relayed to the WWF. He didn’t even take its body as a trophy-kill. Could this rare and elegant leopard have been killed in self-defense? Not likely, since the Amur leopard has never been known to attack a human, and this one was shot from behind.

So that just leaves one reason for killing it: Total Stupidity.

I can just imagine the thoughts going through the killer’s mind: “Oh, hey, there’s one of those leopard thingees. I’ve got a gun. Let’s shoot it in the butt. Heh heh, yeah, that’d be cool! Then I’ll get some practice being a caveman and bludgeon it to death. Oh man, wait ‘til the guys back at the yurt hear about this!”

Yeah. What a f*cking moron.


Update (12/20/07): HERE is a nifty Nature-documentary excerpt about the Amur leopard.

6 comments:

Maggie said...

Doesn't bludgeoning just depict an act of extreme violence in your mind. It does to me. It seems like someone would have to be really adrenalized and angry to repeatedly beat something till it dies. Why though would someone be angry at a leopard?

Helen said...

Why would anyone kill such a beautiful animal. Pity I did not have a gun to shoot him up the butt. What a wa..er. Even for food these beautiful animals should not be hunted. For christ sake leave the animals alone. Not enough of nature and too much of people!

Veronica said...

I agree, what f*cking morons. I hear they are trying to clone them now. of course that'll take years.

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