Tigers roam the land

Tigers play in the sand

Tigers will bite your hand



step aside



Soul Among Lions

by Harley Shaw

(copyright 1989)

a book

published by

Johnson Publishing Company

Boulder, Colorado

The vastness of lion habitat, the secretiveness of the species, its resistance to poisoning, and the ability of the lion to recolonize empty habitat rapidly ~ thwarted every effort aimed toward its complete elimination...

Lions seldom exist in densities higher than one lion per ten to twenty square miles for any extended time.  They average about one kill per week, most of which they consume.  Coyotes and ravens usually dispose of uneaten remains...

J__ lives about nine miles north of Prescott in what was then a sparsely settled area populated by the horse-and-pickup set so common in Arizona towns.  His property bordered a major paved county road and was surrounded on three sides by one- to five-acre parcels of land holding horses, humans, and myriads of free-ranging dogs.  The land across the county road opens into unpopulated country which butts up, some two to three miles distant, against Granite Mountain ~ a known lair of lions...


     Like all of the other interest groups associated with lions, preservationists come in many forms.  At one end of the spectrum are individuals who feel so much compassion for all living beings that they cannot conceive of killing either for sport or for personal gain.  My comments above not withstanding, I identify with these feelings more and more as I age.  This may be part of the above-mentioned behavioral ontogeny.  I have already hunted.  Or it may be due to the fact that I've caught a bullet or two in my life and know how it feels.  Whatever the cause, I seldom hunt anymore.
In spite of these shifting feelings, however, I remember how much I once enjoyed hunting, and I know that humans are so high on the food chain that we cannot exist without killing or displacing other organisms.  Whatever our individual compassion for other species may be, we can be pure at this end of the preservationist spectrum only if we dissociate ourselves from our own bodies.  As one old game warden put it, "Everyone truly believing in protectionism should hold their breaths for thirty minutes."  But life goes on.
     At the other end of the preservationist spectrum are those attached to the cause simply for personal gain, be it money, image, or power.  Any issue that arouses human emotion will attract such parasites.  They can be identified by the fact they spend their days keeping issues alive rather than seeking solutions.  Their sustenance depends upon the continuation, not resolution of problems.  Unfortunately, these individuals frequently maneuver themselves into administrative positions for organizations representing the preservationist cause.

     Between these extremes lie all sorts of individuals.  The most visible are the activists who seem to need a cause to validate their lives.  They drift from issue to issue, yielding temporary support to the fad of the day.  Less visible are those who truly espouse the preservationist viewpoint and spend their lives advocating changes in wildlife laws and regulations.  Most of these, through education and practical political experience, usually assume moderate positions that give consideration to the desires of others.  They become the most effective supporters of the preservationists' goals...


Here's a photo of a mountain lion sneeking around the Kitt Peak area of the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation ~ courtesy of MegaHurtz Rides...

Top photo courtesy of www.unitedwildlife.com...

The banner image, incidently, was taken in the Why, Arizona area...

And up in the top right corner of the background image ye may ponder Granite Mountain, near Prescott...