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Friday, May 5, 2017

Ghost of the forest - Elusive black panther



I was very fortunate to sight for the first time in my life the elusive black panther of Nagarhole forest twice on back to back safaris during my visit beginning of this year after three years of being sighted there. This sighting did make me read and learn more about these elusive creatures  and I have penned down few interesting information from Wikipedia and other sources



Color of the skin:
The Black Panther is merely a colloquial name given to a melanistic colour variation of a leopard or jaguar, and is derived from the genus name, Panthera. Black panthers in Asia and Africa are black leopards and black panthers in the Americas are black jaguars. Melanism (a Greek word meaning black pigment) is an over development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin or its appendages and is the opposite of albinism. Close inspection of these cats will show that the spots and rosettes are still present but much harder to see due to the darker color of the coat.

Black Panther’s Historical Connection:
Ancient Egyptians revered black panther as goddess  whose name is Bast ( daughter of Amon-Ra) and later the name was tinkered by the Greek to mean  (Soul of Isis) Ba-Aset .  She is one of the well-loved goddesses of Egypt; especially lower Egypt.  Many temples and statues were built to her honor by her cult following in the cities of Memphis, Heliopolis, and Herakliopolis. However, of all the cities, none could surpass the reverence she received in the city of Busbastis near the Delta, which was named after her. Every year, in the months of April and May, the historian Herodotus noted that her yearly festivals drew some 700,000 people in huge ships singing songs and dancing as they head to the city. Prodigious amounts of wine were drunk in these festivals. Upon reaching Bubastis, great sacrifices were made. This annual festival went by different names including “Festival of Bast”, “Procession of Bast”, “Bast Goes Forth from Bubastis” and “Bast Guards the Two Lands”. The festivals continued until the destruction of the city in 350 BC by the Persians. What remains today are just ruins to remind us of its one-time glory and splendor  



 Black panthers are very shy and in the event you have been lucky to have sighted one it would more or less lounging on a distant tree. Due to the black color skin the black panther would find it difficult to camouflage itself like the normal leopards for  it can be seen quite easily even if the stalking their prey… possibly this is the reason for its shyness . But during the recent days I have been seeing the reports of regular sighting of this magnificent animal often which makes me conclude that the animal is becoming bolder day by day. The image above is with lots of clutter.. dry branches of the tree but then we may never get the perfect background and the foreground settings in the wild. I hope that you like these images and enjoy the same.