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For the average city slicker – living in an artificial environment dominated by concrete, loud vehicles, and crowds of people – the mysteries of the natural world might seem remote. However, cities around the world are, in fact, teeming with hidden wildlife. Foxes, raccoons, squirrels, and mice are just some of the animals you are likely to encounter in your backyard while those living in certain areas of the U.S. can find themselves face-to-face with a moose or an alligator! Meanwhile, a wide variety of U.S. cities are now bearing witness to a growing movement to transform previously hostile urban areas into more welcoming spaces for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.
And now, a stunning image released by The National Geographic has shown that in some areas of the world, urban wildlife can end up being a lot more exotic than you might expect!
The breath-taking photograph was posted to their Instagram account and shot by Steve Winter.
It depicts two leopard cubs walking up the steps of a shrine in Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai, India, to drink at a watering hole. The caretaker of the shrine, who lives close to the watering hole, normally allows his goats and chickens to drink there during the day. At night, he brings them into his home for safety and allows the Leopards to take over.
Photographer Steve Winter said that this picture offers, “proof that we humans live with majestic animals in urban areas without even knowing they are there – AND without major problems – if we let them be. Leopards are the most adaptable and the most persecuted cat on our planet. … Our natural world is simply perfect and incredibly amazing. And without it we as humans cannot survive. We need to wake up and save the nature that we depend on for our oxygen, water, and food – life itself. If we save big cats, we can save ourselves.”
The picture illustrates the fact that despite the walls of industrial civilization that we have built around ourselves, in reality, humans and wild animals interact with one another – and depend on one another – a lot more than we realize. By displaying more empathy and compassion toward all creatures, we can begin to move past the myth of our own superiority and heal the planet we all share.
Image Source: NatGeo/Instagram