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Desmond Morris is a world-renowned zoologist and the author of many bestselling books on human and animal behaviour. He is a practicing artist and contributed the acclaimed Owl and Monkey to Reaktion's Animal Series. He lives in Oxford, UK.
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A good read about an elegant big cat, but as much about the concept of leopard as about the animals themselves.28. April 2015
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Desmond Morris has written several books in the Reaktion Books "Animal Series." This the best of the several he has written for them. Someone should write a book about Morris, he's in his mid-80s and still produces books like this one, lively and informative. My guess is that most readers will find the book interesting because they are, like me, interested in leopards. I was hoping for some information about my favorite snow leopards, but there isn't much about them. Be aware this is as much about leopards and people as it is about leopards. There is a good deal of natural history, but just as much culture.
The book starts with aspects of natural history, almost a kind of praise song for leopards' elegance, hunting ability, extreme wariness, cunning and adaptability. Morris likes leopards, obviously, but he also knows a lot about them and has some personal experiences with some of the animals.
Just listing the chapter titles is as good a way as any to describe this book. Chapter 1, "Ancient Leopards." Chapter 2, "Tribal Leopards." Chapter 3, "Leopard Cults." Chapter 4, "Leopard Hunting." Chapter 5, "Leopard Attacks." Chapter 6, "Symbolic Leopards." Chapter 7, "Decorative Leopards." Chapter 8, "Leopards in Art." Chapter 9, "Circus Leopards." Chapter 10, "Tame Leopards." Chapter 11, "Wild Leopards." Chapter 12, "Leopard Conservation." There are three appendixes, one of which is on filmography.
The upshot is that humans have long been fascinated by the animal's independence and formidable predatory skills. It appears (my contention, not Morris' point) that the fact that leopards hunt alone and often in the dark makes them seem more sinister that the more powerful but more social lion. No leopard as king of beasts. Perhaps "leopard" is too close to "leper," long seen as a disease inflicted by God as a punishment?
Leopards seem to be the most adaptable of the large cats, although some of them are gravely endangered. Leopards are still dangerous and do kill people now and then. Anyway, this is a good read.