Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A Drive at Dawn in the Bushveldt

The next morning, we were woken at 5:30 am for the morning game drive. It was FREEZING. We were given blankets and hot water bottles, but we still shivered. The temperature range here is astonishing - from zero degrees at night to 35 during the day!
After extensive tracking, we came across our quarry: a male leopard.
To my intense frustration, I realized that I had left the battery for my D-SLR camera back in the lodge! Luckily I had a point-and-shoot with me as backup, and the picture came out fairly well.
Leopards are not as large as lions or tigers. The Israeli subspecies weighs up to about eighty pounds, the African around two hundred. Yet, fiercely brazen, they take on prey many times their own size. In the words of the curator of the Hai-Bar nature reserve of the Negev, Bill Clark: “They don’t have the speed of a cheetah, nor can they claim the brute force of a lion. Instead, they rely on their wits. They’re smart, and, pound for pound, they’re the scrappiest of the big cats... No other predator confronts its victims with such rampaging fury.”
And thus we find the Mishnah telling us:
"Be as bold as a leopard to do the will of your Father in Heaven" (Pirkei Avos)
I have a fair amount of material on leopards in my book Seasons of Life, and I have much more in my forthcoming Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom; hopefully it will see the light of day within a year or two. Meanwhile, here's an important lesson that I learned this morning: Always make sure that you have a battery in your camera!


Anonymous said...

Amazingly,in this weeks Parsha the Jews are compared to a Lion

Anonymous said...

הן עם כלביא יקום וכארי יתנשא