The Jaguar's Shadow: Searching for a Mythic Cat download
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English | Sep 7, 2009 | ISBN: 030012225X | 376 Pages | PDF | 12,2 MB
When the nature writer Richard Mahler discovers that wild jaguars are prowling a remote corner of his home state of New Mexico, he embarks on a determined quest to see in the flesh a big, beautiful cat that is the stuff of legend-yet verifiably real.
Mahler's passion sets in motion a years-long adventure through trackless deserts, steamy jungles, and malarial swamps, as well as a confounding immersion in centuries-old debates over how we should properly regard these powerful predators: as varmints or as icons, trophies or gods? He is drawn from border badlands south to Panama's rain forest along a route where the fate of nearly all wildlife now rests in human hands. Mahler's odyssey introduces him to unrepentant poachers, pragmatic ranchers, midnight drug-runners, ardent conservationists, trance-induced shamans, hopeful biologists, stodgy bureaucrats, academic philosophers, macho hunters, and gentle Maya Indians. Along the way, he is forced to reconsider the true meaning of his search-and the enduring symbolism of the jaguar.
From Publishers Weekly
Over the course of 10 years, journalist and tour guide Mahler searched the Western Hemisphere for jaguars, finding recent photographs, claw marks and scat, and captive animals-but never spotted a single wild cat. Though jaguars once roamed from the southwestern U.S. through most of Central and South America, their range and numbers have dwindled to make them nearly invisible. Chronicling his travels, Mahler examines the creatures' contemporary challenges as well as the fossil record, folklore from Incan, Moche, Mayan, and other indigenous cultures, and present attempts to save the species. Mahler is a passionate advocate for environmental protection ("a planet with jaguars is infinitely richer than one without") but knows that he and his fellows are "competing against the human desire for jobs, homes, water, food, land, money, and other resources"). With many photographs, as well as details of travel through little-known territories, Mahler provides a fast-moving, ecological detective tale and a knowing conservationist wake-up call.
Journalist Mahler admits that he is not a scientist and his book is not a science book. It is the story of a quest--an odyssey--in search of wild jaguars. In 1996, a mountain-lion hunter was following his dogs in the mountains of southern New Mexico, hot on the trail of what was thought to be a large lion. But he soon discovered the dogs had cornered a jaguar, the first seen in the U.S. in decades. A brief mention of this encounter in a newspaper Mahler saw set an obsession on fire, and he set off on his on-again, off-again pursuit of jaguars. As he talked with the "Jag Team" (officially the Jaguar Conservation Team), set up to photograph jaguars in "camera traps," he learned that there have been sightings of more than one jaguar in the southwest. As Mahler travels to Belize, Mexico, Panama, as well as through the scientific literature, he imparts the folklore and science surrounding this largest of the New World cats. Did Mahler ever see his cat? Follow his journey to find out. --Nancy Bent
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