An Exhibit of Himalayan
Embark on a quest across the largest
continent in the world to explore diverse habitats, discover
ancient cultures and traditions and search for some of
the most endangered and magnificent animals in the world,
culminating in discovering the Siberian (Amur) tiger
in far eastern Russia.
The quest begins in Southeast Asia, travels
in a northwesterly direction, then meanders back across
the Himalayas northeast to the harsh Amur River valley
of eastern Russia. Throughout the trek, the magic of
cultures steeped in history and the interconnectedness
between humans and all other life forms is revealed.
The sun bear is the first animal to encounter
along the trek. Resting at first glance in the tangled
nest of bisecting tree limbs, the bear yawns widely,
shakes and then begins to move towards a group of visitors
across a nearby horizontal branch.
The climate appears to be changing; the
habitat becoming less tropical. Visitors delight in spotting
the endearing red panda resting up high, in a tall stand
of bamboo. Stopping in the cool shade, the observers
notice the sound of a gurgling stream and the distinctive
whisper and rattle of wind through the bamboo leaves.
The observers move on to
the gates of a long-abandoned Asian garden and explore
its secrets as iridescently feathered pheasants squabble
back and forth across the shade-dappled path. Each new
bird encountered is a bit more splendidly robed in brilliant
color and plumage than the one that just strutted by.
Moving in a relatively northwesterly
direction from the lush Chinese forests, rugged, rocky
cliff outcroppings are dotted with a small group of majestic
markhor, who climb with sure-footed abandon across the
seemingly vertical slopes. Can that be an odd-looking
domestic cat prowling along the slopes as well? A
closer look reveals the distinctive long ears and owlish
eyes of a pallas cat, known in Russia as a manul.
At last, the giant Siberian
(Amur) tiger is found resting in a shallow stream, mere
yards from the footpath. Its sheer size is arresting.
Suddenly, there is a low, rumbling thunderous roar as
a second cat bounds from a large boulder into peripheral
view. It takes a moment to remember to breathe again.
It takes a longer moment to imagine how it would feel
if the tiger were to disappear forever from the world.
There is still time
to save the wondrous, diverse animals of Asia Quest.
Change is our hope for the future.