Monday, December 23, 2013

DAJUN WANG and wild baby PANDA; lost world of the KOUPREY

This is my Xmas present to Fastfilmblog readers--not the narrative if cursory drawing of mine above, but herein both the happiest and the saddest videos on YouTube depicting wild mammals in their respective habitats. 

The first is ecstatically joyous but relates very little of its backstory onsite, later handily provided by Smithsonian Magazine, Volume 44 number 9. It stars Peking University research scientist Dajon Wang who specializes in species survival, in the field--the rainy mountains of western China--interacting with a wild baby panda. Apparently its mother had become sufficiently relaxed with his presence that one day, she motioned to him to babysit while she left to feed. This would not be anthropomorphizing to a trained panda observer, which few of us are, so trust him on this one: you see the happy results.

There are 5 astonishing minutes recorded of the baby panda having a, pardon the pun, a field day with his new pal, recorded by his field videographer. (The second half of the 10 minute video merely repeats the first half without the drenching rainstorm soundtrack.) Both playmates clearly are having a ball.

Wang wrote on YouTube, "His mother was about 50 metres from us, she was totally fine with me playing with her son. Now the baby Panda is still in the mountains, 16 years old. That was (the) best time in my life." The scientist was amazingly generous to share this with the world, as he also notes, "Youtube is blocked in China. Thanks everybody visit this video, hope you all enjoyed." Yes sir, we did indeed! Thank you, dedicated zoologists of China like Dajun Wang.

Which brings us to the following tragic video now closer in taxonomy to footage of dinosaurs or unicorns than these wild cattle relations once common in the forests of Cambodia, Laos and western Vietnam, here documented in 1951 in the Choam Ksan/Koh Ker areas of Preah Vihear province. The kouprey became known to modern zoologists in 1937 and by 1988 were extinct, with no captive populations to perpetuate this amazing bovid, (unlike say, Przwalski's true wild horse [similar to the cave art wild horse, the extinct tarpan, see LINK] gone from the wild but now raised in wildlife sanctuary zoos with sufficient acreage.) 

Koupreys, locally known in native languages as Grey Forest Ox weighed a ton each, were about 7 and 1/2 feet long from head to tail, and the mature bulls had enormous lyre-shaped horns. The Southeast Asian wars of the modern era ended the lives of all koupreys everywhere forever. Their sole documentation below:

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