Wild in the City

New Backyard Attractions:
El Jefe & the Lion King of L.A.

Behind the string of wild animal sightings roaming major urban centers is our destructive appetite for the land and resources of their natural habitats. Thus when a mountain lion takes residency in a public park, or a jaguar is caught on tape close to a highway, it’s urgent to study them before they disappear.
Seeing bears, coyotes, alligators, tigers, and many others is becoming common in American and world cities. But there’s something new about P-22, a puma who lives in L.A., and El Jefe, of Tucson and possibly the only jaguar living in the U.S.: the much we’ve already learned about their incredibly rich individual sagas.

No offense to the remarkable little tiger that roams your living room, but these magnificent cats’ ability to adapt and survive offers invaluable insights into our efforts to slow down the extinction their species and of so many others face. Even if, as it goes, their close proximity also shames us to no end.
The ongoing massive man-made extermination of wildlife, which took evolution millions of years to perfect, is not just a tragedy on a planetary scale; it may also turn out to be the gateway to our own quick demise. Good riddance, some of them would say if they could or were born for that sort of thing.
For too long, developed nations have blamed poor (our apologies, Africa) continents for being lax about natural resources and their native animals. But what the fate of P-22 and El Jefe brings home is the hypocrisy of such an attitude, as it exposes our own lack of commitment for protecting the planet.

CEO OF THE UNDOCUMENTED
The footage of El Jefe, whose name was chosen by students at a Tucson school, was is a highlight in a decades-long program to restore a clear path for jaguars between North and South America. So there was due credit given when a remote camera captured glances of the elusive cat for the first time.
But it also happens during a particular hard time for U.S. immigrants. As a misguided administration engages in mass deportations, it also plans to build a wall at the border with Mexico, which would be disastrous to that recover strategy. That is sad but fitting, though, as El Jefe is believed to be a Mexican by birth too.
How it’ll play out may determine whether current efforts to prevent the extinction of species is headed to success or failure. That’s because any effective preservation strategy has to allocate, and protect, large swaths of land, where they can thrive without human direct interference. And that’s tough.
By the way, tough is also the jaguar bite: 2000 pounds per square inch, which relative to its weight is the stronger than all other cats, and also bears, gorilas and hippos. It can crush a turtle shell and it’s no wonder the Amerindian word Yaguar means ‘he who kills with one leap.’

THE BOSS OF HOLLYWOOD
The case of P-22 is similar in what the cat’s endurance is also the result of a carefully laid out plan to drive up the numbers of a genetically diverse population in the U.S. That’s another component of a successful recovery strategy, as it increases their odds to survival.
Centuries of hunting, inbreeding, and the perils of navigating diminishing wilderness patches squeezed by miles and miles (more)
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Read Also:
* Farewell to a King
* Pachyderm Skills
* Sleep With the Fishes

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You Belong to Me

The Branding of Young
Girls By Sex Traffickers

For millennia, the art of tattoo has served to ritualistic beautify the body, make statements about deeply personal or communally shared beliefs, and as a powerful element of mystical identification.
As purely an art form, the practice of covering the body with tattoos is also a way of wearing a particularly transcendental vision, which can transform the skin into a malleable canvas of abstract or realistic depictions of deities, realities and narratives.
They can be illustrations telling fantastic stories about that person’s inner life, his or her ancestors, places they belong to or aim to reach at the end of their journeys.
But along the years, the practice also became an unmistakable sign of ownership, a synonymous of proprietary rights over that individual, a warning that such body belongs to someone else. Just like animals being branded with the logo of their masters.
Today, tattooing and branding are virtually indistinguishable. Continue reading

Lost Weekend

Polaroids of Lennon &
Friends Surface in L.A.

A trove of never-before published Polaroids of John Lennon, his three Beatle mates, Harry Nilsson, Pete Moon and members of the Rolling Stones has just been uncovered. Patti Daley, a close friend of late guitarist Jesse Ed Davis, took them in the 1970s and now has decided to share them with the world.
When Lennon left Yoko Ono in 73 and spent 15 months in California in what he later called his “lost weekend,” his rented Santa Monica house quickly became a Continue reading