Forest Jewel
This beautiful leopard was photographed in the Masai Mara in Kenya. Her name was Half Tail, (she had lost half her tail in an unknown mishap years before). She was a legend among the BBC filmmakers who had followed and documented much of her life. She was known for being an exceptional mother. The survival rate of her cubs was almost 100%. The BBC filmmakers explained to us that even in the animal world not all mothers were the same. Half Tale’s devotion to her offspring and her exceptional abilities as a teacher had won the respect and hearts of the locals and the filmmakers observing her life. I was given the opportunity to watch her teach her young how to use the ravines for cover and stealth when hunting. There was a humorous moment when her playing cubs knocked the kill she had taken the night before out of a tree. She had spent a great deal of time and effort getting it up there to keep it safe and her cubs roughhousing together knocked it out. Right when the kill hit the ground she let out a scream of exasperation then scolded her cubs, not too harshly, then began the process of pulling the kill back up into the tree. Half Tail’s love and devotion to her family truly made her a magnificent forest jewel. In modern society we can live so divorced from the natural world that we can be unaware of the complexity and magnificence of the fellow creatures with which we share this planet. Please preserve the wild and remember to treat all life with respect. What an empty place our world would be without these amazing creatures.