Thursday, July 30, 2015

Africa and Animals - A Photo Blog

The death of Cecil the lion got me thinking about how I first became aware of the African continent. As I was growing up, my father attempted to instill in me a mirror to his own love of geography and history. Sad to say, the geography aspect of that, except as it dovetailed with specific acts of historical import, just never stuck and I'm still quite hopeless at geography. But it's hard to miss an entire continent, and even if most of my attention was spent on the northeastern part of Africa (Egypt, to be precise), there's a whole lot of continent around and below it. But it was the animals that first drew me to love Africa; those marvelous and so very exotic animals.

Part of my confusion with Africa is how large it is and how many
nations exist within its boundaries. It seemed they were always changing
their names and their governments. It was very difficult to remember
who was where and where was when. Thus, my extreme paucity of
solid knowledge about the African continent. 

So today, I thought I'd take a quick look through some of the animals that have always encircled my imagination. When herds of animals run across landscapes in my dreams, it's not the wild horses of North America, no, it's the Wildebeests of the African landscape. My reptiles aren't alligators, they're crocodiles. And somewhere there must be hippos, cheetahs, and of course, lions and elephants. What a wonderful thing!

Seeing a Wildebeest like this makes me think of the American Bison
(Buffalo) on our own prairies. So regal. 

The annual Wildebeest migration is one of the more amazing
sights across central Africa. What an amazing view. 

This is a Nile Crocodile - probably almost as large as Cleopatra's barge. It's
very impressive and I have admiration for anyone taking a small boat
up and down the Nile river when monsters like this one hunt from its waters. 

The Hippopotamus looks so placid in photos, but it's responsible for
more deaths on the rivers of Africa than any other animal. Fiercely
territorial, they can swim very effectively below the surface, rising
to upset boats with ease. 

Cheetahs are among the fastest animals on the planet with incredible
bursts of speed and the ability to turn almost "on a dime" as we say
here in the USA. The distinctive black tears from its eyes to the muzzle
are one of the identifying marks, that beautiful white tipped tail, another. 

Although most areas of the world have their big cats, the African Lion has
always been a favorite of mine. The real tragedy of Cecil's untimely
death is that his successor will kill all existing cubs so the new pride
will be only his own bloodline. What a terrible waste. 

More and more is being discovered with ongoing studies about the
African Elephant. Their strong matriarchal ties and family groups
are unique and they are most certainly NOT the more tractable
Indian elephants of Thailand and India. These beasts are aggressive
and very protective. They are also so very beautiful. 

So, after all of that, thinking about these incredible animals we share our world with, I ended up with sushi for lunch because, well, just look at it. One of the best Maui Bento plates I've seen at my local sushi vendor for a while. I just couldn't resist.

The long item in the center next to the soy sauce packet is a spicy crunchy
crab roll. Two pieces of tuna and one of yellowtail are on the far right. A center
spotlight of roe with avocado in the center bottom. The wasabi was
tear-bringing hot - just perfect - and the two pieces of two different roll at
the top left were tasty too. It was a wonderful lunch.  

So, time to grab my stuff and start my day. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday. Do you have a favorite wild animal or a story about an animal you'd love to share with me? I'd love to read it.

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