The jaguar writes to Aristotle about the problems the big cats face with the destruction of the rainforests.

Shaggy Orangey, only Man destroys the world he lives in. No frog greedily drinks up the very pond it lives in!

Take heart! Together, we animals can make him understand this wonderful Native American Indian saying!

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

What I have to tell you will not make your situation better but it might help to know that you are not the only one suffering at the hands of Man. We live in the rainforests of Central and South America and you know what, our habitat too is disappearing at an alarming rate. Animals like howler monkeys and kinkajous rarely come down to the forest floor from their treetop homes. What happens to these guys when trees are cut down? And more importantly, what happens to me — a jaguar that feeds on these mammals?

The big five

Perhaps that sounds extremely selfish on my part. The fact is that I, unlike Man, take only what I need. Not a monkey more; not a monkey less. I know I am a terrifying figure in these parts. Yes, I am the third largest big cat after the tiger and the lion. Spotty (leopard) is smaller than I. We four belong to the family of Big Cats or Pantherinae. We are the “roaring cats” though I give a series of hoarse, throaty coughs. We have a terrible reputation of being ruthless killers. I cannot deny that; nor am I going to justify it. Yes, I do kill with just one crushing bite into my prey’s skull. That is how I get my name too; from a local word which means “a beast that kills with one bite”. I have a few square spots on my body. I look fat, stocky and bulky, and I have short legs.

Well, in the Natural Order, prey and predator, life and death are all part of our existence on this planet. I often reflect on what life means to me, and I guess you do too. . .

As someone said, “What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.”

Hey, life is also what these black howlers are smearing all around and on all branches too!

Hey, hey! Stop that disgusting act right now or I'll come after you! Crude jungle-dwellers!

Jaguar

Reply from Aristotle

I have never heard of these strange creatures from South America. Are kinkajous a kind of fruit?