Sunday, November 19, 2017

Akeley's Fight with a Leopard

When artists and scientists produced the dioramas for the American Museum of Natural History, they went to Africa in search of suitable animals. But sometimes the encounters didn't go as planned.

In Ethiopia, taxidermist Carl Akeley was hunting warthog and ostrich when he took an ill-advised shot toward a noise that he heard in the bush.

Unexpectedly he had injured a leopard, which pursued him and later attacked him. He knew that once engaged in a fight, a wounded leopard would never give up, and it would be a fight to the death.
"A leopard, unlike a lion, is vindictive. A wounded leopard will fight to a finish practically every time, no matter how many chances it has to escape. Once aroused, its determination is fixed on fight, and if a leopard ever gets hold, it claws and bites until its victim is in shreds. All this was in my mind, and I began looking about for the best way out of it, for I had no desire to try conclusions with a possibly wounded leopard when it was so late in the day that I could not see the sights of my rifle.”
Read the rest online at Mental Floss: The Time Carl Akeley Killed a Leopard with his Bare Hands.
From Akeley's book In Brightest Africa


Jessica Kirby said...

A warthog in the hand is worth two in the bush? The leopard made me think of the movie, Bringing Up Baby.

My Pen Name said...

I read a recently published biography of Akeley -"Kingdom Under Glass" which the mental floss article is based on. Pretty exciting life. He pretty much revolutionized taxidermy, so Akeley hall @ the American Museum of Natural history is justly named after him.The gorilla exhibit is a recreation of the spot where he died and was buried.

His aunt and mother wanted to institutionalize him when he was younger because of his (in their eyes) morbid obsession with dead animals.