Wednesday, 14 January 2009

( WOW )

The word peaceful, brings to me so many associations. The sounds and feel of the bush at dusk, the call of an Emerald spotted dove on a lazy, warm afternoon, the idle flick of a leopard's tail or the sight of a young child sleeping close to his or her mother. In Shangaan, the word for this, the word for peace or peaceful is karula. . .and WE know a Karula, many of us know her well. This image below is the last time I photographed her, on the 11th of January and after sunset, in that magical time of late dusk.I thought to just jot down a few things about her, maybe you are keen to know more about her (like me), or maybe you are only getting to know Karula.
She is the daughter of Safari ( an amazing leopard, who also has a new cub, in the Arathusa area to our south-west) and Karula is mother to Saseka and Tingana, two female leopards, that are now independent, but WE still get to see them every so often.
WildEarth started OUR journey at close to the same time as Karula had and raised Saseka (meaning beautiful) and Tingana (meaning shy).
Subsequently WE have all fallen in love with these three leopards, and most of all Karula. She now has two new cubs, and WE will get to know them too. . .and always get to know Karula better, you will see her here with us and often think WOW, be WOWed by her.
Look closely, you will see what I mean.So just to end off, how to recognise her if you see her. She is absolutely gorgeous, with a long, elegant tail and striking rosette markings all over her coat.
She is unmistakably a leopard in her healthy prime, and she may be travelling with two little cubs!!
How to know it is definitely her, I use two areas on her face for clear identification. The tri-angle of spots above her left-hand side whisker line (she also has one on her right-hand side, but slightly less clear). . .and then the WOW between her eyes (as first pointed out by Claire-M), look carefully. . .between her eyes, there are two ( brackets) at eyebrow level and they ( WOW ), this is above the relatively solid, horizontal line between Karula's eyes!
So now WE can recognize her even easier as WE look forward to her next generation and to many exciting and peaceful moments WE will share with her and in our nature.( WOW )

Pieter Pretorius

1 comment:

Barb said...

Wow is right. That top picture is worthy of a magazine cover. I sincerely hope you're planning a wildlife book or something soon, because your photography is wonderful. You have the eye.

Thanks for the tips on how to recognize Karula, I'll have to look next time I see her, to see if I can identify her. I was along on the drive when you took that top photograph and the image struck me strongly as well.