The Snow Leopard - Peter Matthiessen

GS is the zoologist George Schaller. I knew him first in 1969, in the Serengeti Plain of East Africa, where he was working on his celebrated study of the lion. When I saw him next, in New York City in the spring of 1972, he had started a survey of wild sheep and goats and their near relatives the goat-antelopes. He wondered if I might like to join him the following year on an expedition to northwest  Nepal, near the frontier of Tibet, to study the bharal, or Himalayan blue sheep; it was his feeling, which he meant to confirm, that this strange “sheep” of remote ranges was actually less sheep than goat, and perhaps quite close to the archetypal ancestor of both.

Page 1 of the main text of this book has been a roller-coaster of events already: starting with exclamations of “Shut up!” at the surprise that there is such a fabulous creature as a “blue sheep” and resulting in the utter disappointment on finding out that the blue sheep are, according to Encyclopaedia Britannica:


Blue sheepBlue sheep (genus Pseudois), also called bharal, either of two species of sheeplike mammals, family Bovidae (order Artiodactyla), that inhabit upland slopes in a wide range throughout China, from Inner Mongolia to the Himalayas. Despite their name, blue sheep (Pseudois nayaur) are neither blue nor sheep.”


Ugh. I am gutted.


They are kinda cute, tho.


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