Category Archives: Mammal



I’m somewhat negative about my two trips to Africa last year. Lots of money, lots of time, and lots of effort to see some of the extremely small slices of the wild that remain out there.

Still, it was neat to see a wild colobus.

Australian Water Rat

Australian Water Rat_2

Rats have been around a long time. Rats were there when a weird looking primate decided to climb down from the trees and build a new life. Rats were there when those primates learned to work together – to protect one another – to ensure everyone had enough to eat. Rats were there when the primates developed technology, when they developed new methods of communication, when they learned to pair greed with fear, leveraging their desires for safety and comfort to drive world-wide expansion. Rats watched the primates slowly subvert the promises of safety and comfort into glee from taking those very things away from others. Rats watched most primates fight with one another over scraps while a small number of primates took more and more away from the rest – and not only the primates that were there, but the primates that were yet to be – stealing from the future simply so they could confidently withhold safety and comfort from those in the present.

Rats are watching primates destroy their own children’s’ future for no reason other than they know they won’t be alive then so it doesn’t matter. Rats don’t understand how – in a world where the majority power of these primates follow tenants that involve treating others well, feeding them, clothing them, taking care of them – the same majority power treats others poorly, starving them, stripping them, actively harming them. Rats don’t understand how primates can develop the ability to see the future and then, as a group, agree that the future doesn’t matter. Rats don’t understand, yet, but they’re trying. They’re studying. They’re learning.

When their turn comes around they won’t make our mistakes.

Asiatic Lion

Asiatic Lions_5

The Asiatic lion used to roam throughout India, Turkey, Iran and the Mesopotamian area. Today, it is restricted to just the Gir Forest in India. In December of last year, 31 of these lions died unexpectedly of – it is believed – disease and parasites. When a population gets too small, it becomes more vulnerable. It is likely that the wild population will die out in my lifetime, so I’m glad I got to see these when I did.

Sokoke Cat

Sokoke Cat_9

You come to this cat, on the day his daughter is to be married, and you ask for a favor. Someday, he may call upon you to do a service in return. On that day, you will have a choice – to say “yes” or “no.”

Either answer is acceptable, for this cat understands the difference between friendship and debt.