Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Come on a safari with me

Herds of wildebeest sweeping across a Serengeti plain, pods of dolphins frolicking in the wake of a cruise ship, a lone tiger prowling the ruins of Angkor Wat: nature is definitely boring, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

It’s time to inject some excitement into your own portion of the ecosphere. The local park, playing field or hobo-infested wasteland down the road may be low on lions and monkeys, but it’s bound to be chock-a-block with some kind of wildlife. Rabbits! Grasshoppers! Odd wormy things that burrow in your skin and can’t be removed, even with a scalpel! You know why David Attenborough hasn’t made a TV program about your local wildlife? It’s because he’s a big sissy. Slip on a safari suit, borrow your creepy uncle’s binoculars, and let’s see what we can find.

Most wildlife expeditions set out to find a particular animal. It may be overly ambitious to choose a white-cheeked gibbon or a pangolin, so go for something difficult, but realistic: a three-legged dog, perhaps, or a pygmy elephant. Once you find your quarry, photograph and document it in immense detail. Record its behaviour: what does it eat? How does it walk? Does it have territory? Does it socialise with other animals? Remember, this is for posterity! If you can’t find the stupid thing, use the comments section to complain at length about the weather, maps, native guides and any wildlife ‘experts’ whose advice you’ve followed.

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