Monday, 3 March 2014

Arabian Leopards Are Tarts

I took this pic in 2008. The picture in the National today 
shows matey clearly hasn't moved in the past six years.

Nice wee story in The National today about how Sharjah's Arabian Wildlife Centre has been working to pull the Arabian Leopard back from the brink of extinction. Their breeding pair has so far given birth to 35 cubs, which is quite a lot of leopard.

You can take a mooch up the Dhaid road from Sharjah (it's the road to the airport - you just keep going into the desert) and make a day out of it. I've posted about it before - founded by a Dutch amateur naturalist called Mariejke Jongbloed who wrote to the ruler of Sharjah, HH Dr. Sheikh Sultan Al Qassimi, to express her concern about the breeding grounds of the endangered thub lizard. His response was to support her in opening up an entire wildlife centre, including (and this made her chuckle a lot) a zoo where the humans were kept inside and the animals outside.

There's a huge amount to see there - a fascinating museum with a wonderful display of the history of Sharjah's desert biome, a petting zoo and the centre proper with scorpions to foxes and deer through oryx and mahas to the leopards themselves, big sprawling tarts of cats who flop on their shelves and logs and bestow glances of utter contempt upon visitors. They're probably endangered because they can't be bothered to chase prey, it's just you know, beneath them...

The centre's amazing fun for adults and kids alike - we go there pretty much every time we have visitors out and Sarah's just been there with her class. According to The National, it stands as the biggest collection of Arabian wildlife in the world.

And all from a letter!

1 comment:

Grumpy Goat said...

Thanks to my lining up the backgrounds, I managed to create a six-year timelapse picture. It demonstrates that leopards do, in fact, move.

Very slowly.

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