- Path of the Panther
- (scroll down for description)
- 1993, acrylic, 24 x 36
Although the title Path of the Panther refers to the immediate trail the cougar in my painting will follow, there is another much wider meaning as well.
The cougar or panther or puma is found from the southern tip of South America all the way up through Central America, the United States and the Canadian west. This setting is in Belize - an small English speaking Central American country on the Gulf of Mexico near Guatemala.
My cougar is stalking along a cliff is beside a beautiful mountain stream and waterfall which our family has visited several times. We were not lucky enough to see a cougar there but they live in the area. I particularly like the way the roots of the strangler fig and the shadows of the tropical plants sprawl across the rock face.
The wider meaning of Path of the Panther is embodied in the Spanish translation "Paseo Pantera". This is a phrase coined by Wildlife Conservation International for an excellent project. The proposal envisions a contiguous chain of wild areas on both public and private lands so that a panther or cougar could walk from Panama to the U.S. border without leaving wilderness. The more we learn about nature, the more we realize that the only way to protect genetic biodiversity is to have large tracts of habitat and corridors so that mixing and movement can take place. Most of the Central American countries are in agreement with the idea. Belize is doing an excellent job protecting wilderness. Can you imagine the impact of a Path of the Panther from Tierra del Fuego to British Columbia?
The panther is a flagship species. If its "pathway" can be protected, it will be a blessing for all the plants and animals and humans in the future.