Heart or head

At last I receive a long expected email from Peter Klose; he writes: "There is some disagreement as to whether or not bring the animal to Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park. Pat from the International Society for Endangered Cats Canada really sums it up: "P. p. fuscus is an Indian leopard, and they are far from endangered ... This is one of those situations where you have to decide to go with your heart or your head - give an orphan a home or use the space for a more endangered animal."
Bhagya's new canines are growing

Actually, Bhagya intented to wallow in the newly planted cabbage. But then little Kali approaches me from behind, so that I cannot see her. Bhagya jumps with lightning speed, Kali yowls briefly, but Bhagya already holds her tight at the throat. Kali lies on her back wincing. Bhagya attempts to drag her off. I attempt to keep Bhagya from doing so. But he does not let her go. Kali does not move, not even blinks her eyes any more. Is she dead already?

For just an instant Bhagya loosens his grip slightly. And Kali shoots off screaming. Bhagya is perplexed and so exhausted, that he staggers home and sleeps through the entire afternoon.

The 3 cm long laceration in Kali's throat is stitched, and other punctures in her fur treated with tincture of iodine. She receives antibiotics and devours a large meat ball. By the next day she is frisky again. Only her barking sounds hoarse since then.

Our workers have felled a tree for a new plough in the farm compound; beneath the site the thicket is trampled down. However, Bhagya follows me only very reluctantly through this undergrowth. On the road outside the compound shepherd boys boisterously drive past their goats and cattle. One of the boys discovers me, but I quickly submerge. Inquisitively he approaches the fence and hollers to his friend: "There is somebody!" But his friend jeers at him: "What on earth did you see there? There might have been a tiger. Hahaha, a tiger in the bushes." and moves on.
Bhagya lying low Bhagya sits very quietly beside me and looks anxiously in the direction of the boy. When for a moment he stands up on his hind legs to improve his sight, the boy sees him and calls out to his friend: "There is a leopard." But his friend keeps jeering at him: "Hahaha, a tiger in the bushes."

We keep sitting motionless, until the boy follows his friend. Then we creep out of our cover and sneak off towards the rice fields. The boy returns, sees us and excitedly calls out to his friend: "The leopard is there. Look there. There, there!"

"Come fast! Come fast!" I whisper to Bhagya, and he swiftly follows me crouching. Yet, a few times he turns around but dashes off with me into the next shrubbery.
Through the Species-Preservation-Center of the German Society for Nature Conservation (NABU) my request for assistance also reaches TierArt e.V.; the association is building a rescue-center for animals in need in the German 'Pfalz'. The Chairperson of the association Heike Finke writes: "At TIERART we would accommodate Bhagya. We would be happy to be able to rehome him. Our mediation efforts have not been successful. TIERART puts on steam; yet, we cannot foresee, how fast we are: the site development plan has been passed as by-laws by the Municipal Council. Now the District Administration needs to decide upon the building application. We were informed this takes at least 2 months. Well, and then the time it takes to construct. For how long will you be able to accommodate Bhagya? … I am so sorry, that we are not yet entirely ready. But we are making progress!"

Also, Peter Klose's email of 8 December seems to be a breakthrough: "I just got the green light to bring the leopard to Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park. There was much debate over the issue ... though it's the right thing to do, the animal is widely represented in the wild ... So, now we need to generate the funding to ship the animal as we don't have reserves (especially in the winter) for such projects."   However, he never gets back to me again.

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