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Life of Pi (part 1 chapter 11)

2006-08-22 21:08

  CHAPTER   11

  Consider the case of the female black leopard that escaped from the Zurich Zoo in the winter of 1933. She was new to the zoo and seemed to get along with the male leopard. But various paw injuries hinted at matrimonial strife. Before any decision could be taken about what to do, she squeezed through a break in the roof bars of her cage and vanished in the night. The discovery that a wild carnivore was tree in their midst created an uproar among the citizens of Zurich. Traps were set and hunting dogs were let loose. They only rid the canton of its few half-wild dogs. Not a trace of the leopard was found for ten weeks. Finally, a casual labourer came upon it under a barn twenty-five miles away and shot it. Remains of roe-deer were found nearby. That a big, black, tropical cat managed to survive for more than two months in a Swiss winter without being seen by anyone, let alone attacking anyone, speaks plainly to the fact that escaped zoo animals are not dangerous absconding criminals but simply wild creatures seeking to fit in.

  And this case is just one among many. If you took the city of Tokyo and turned it upside down and shook it, you would be amazed at the animals that would fall out. It would pour more than cats and dogs, I tell you. Boa constrictors, Komodo dragons, crocodiles, piranhas, ostriches, wolves, lynx, wallabies, manatees, porcupines, orang-utans, wild boar-that's the sort of rainfall you could expect on your umbrella. And they expected to find-ha! In the middle of a Mexican tropical jungle, imagine! Ha! Ha! It's laughable, simply laughable. What were they thinking?

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