20 April 2012

نمر عربي/The Arabian Leopard

Recently on Al-Jazeera English, a story was posted about the Arabian Leopard.  I had never heard of the animal before, but apparently, they are the most endangered of all big cats in the world, with only 200 or so left in the wild, living primarily in Yemen, and (hey hey!) Oman.  They are endangered mostly because they have been historically seen as a threat, to livestock and to human life.

Saving the Leopard - Go here to watch the 25 minute video... it may seem long, but it's worth your time.

Check out some amazing pictures and backstory here.

Wikipedia on the Arabian Leopard

This video shows a race to find the leopard in the Omani mountains above Salalah, where I will be living for the summer!  What I truly enjoyed about this video, however, was the spirit of bonding, humor, and a shared purpose that everyone working on the project seemed to have.  There were Americans, Indians, Omanis, and Yemenis, all working together and learning from each other.  It was refreshing to watch a news story about the Arab/Muslim world that was not about bloodshed or violence or religious strife.  A mainstream news channel showing a story where you feel as if you really get to know the two Yemeni men, expect leopard trackers, who are learning to use new motion-sensor cameras in order to track leopards.

These men not only became real to me, but they reminded me of some of the countryside Amazigh young and old, that I met in my four years in Morocco.  Polite, respectful, fun-loving, and, most of all, curious about new things and excited for their possibilities in the future.  If only more Americans could see what I see as the true nature of Arabs/Muslims, reflecting the true nature of human beings.

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