July 29, 2005


Namibia reserve finds way to protect cheetahs (Michael Wines, JULY 29, 2005, The New York Times)

Roused from his lair in the knee-high grass of the Namibian bush, Dewey the cheetah lifted his head toward his latest clutch of gaping humans, maybe nine meters away, and offered a contemptuous stare of the sort that only cats can deliver.

Dean Masika played at reading the animal's mind. "They found me again," he mocked. "How do they do that?"

Simple. Wielding an antenna that resembles an oversized branding iron, Masika leads eco-tourists to Dewey every few days as surely as if the big cat carried a homing beacon - which he does, of course, on a bulky plastic collar around his neck.

But tourism is in some ways an asterisk to these visits. Dewey is one of about 70 cheetahs living on a 4,000-hectare, or 10,000-acre, sanctuary managed by the AfriCat Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to helping Namibia's big carnivores survive.

You can domesticate anything you choose to.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 29, 2005 12:00 AM


Posted by: creeper at July 29, 2005 9:32 AM

If a cheetah's a house cat, I dare you to go up to one and scrathc behind its ears.

Posted by: Brandon at July 29, 2005 12:16 PM

"You can domesticate anything you choose to."

Just ask Siegfried and Roy.

Cats, unlike dogs, are stupid, self-centered and difficult to train. Their minds can only deal with short-term self-interest. Why anybody wants them around I never understood.

Canines are smart enough to see where their bread is buttered and even wilder canines like timberwolves, not born in the wild, can be trained to behave like any happy woofer.

Posted by: bart at July 29, 2005 4:47 PM

If you define anything broadly enough, you can fit anything in the definition.

Orrin wins this one, because he set up a vapid standard and filled it with nothing. Who are we to say he didn't?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at July 29, 2005 5:10 PM

When their keepers start giving them cute names like Gunther, Rusty or Dewey, you have a good indication that the animal is no longer wild. At best they have become habituated to human activity, and it's only a matter of time before the humans "love them to death."

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 29, 2005 5:22 PM


Good example.

Posted by: oj at July 29, 2005 8:18 PM


I win because words have meanings (or they do until Darwinists get ahold of them...):

do·mes·ti·cate Audio pronunciation of "domesticate" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (d-mst-kt)
tr.v. do·mes·ti·cat·ed, do·mes·ti·cat·ing, do·mes·ti·cates

1. To cause to feel comfortable at home; make domestic.
2. To adopt or make fit for domestic use or life.
1. To train or adapt (an animal or plant) to live in a human environment and be of use to humans.
2. To introduce and accustom (an animal or plant) into another region; naturalize.
4. To bring down to the level of the ordinary person.

Posted by: oj at July 29, 2005 8:23 PM

I've always thought of the cats we have as pets as barely being tamed rather than completely domesticated. If they were the size of cheetahs, we'd know the difference quickly.

Posted by: Brooks at July 29, 2005 8:57 PM

Animals needn't be tame to be domesticated.

Posted by: oj at July 29, 2005 9:00 PM

i used to work at a wild animal park, during college, and the best part of the job was driving an electric cart around. one day i was loading it up with supplies, and happened to look up, and there were about 10+ lions of different sizes just looking at me without making a noise (on the other side of a hurricane fence). interesting feeling that. the baby cats are cool as can be, but the big ones are pure death. they had to file down the teeth of the tigers because they were playfully puncturing car tires (of visitors) by biting them. do the math on what kind of jaw strength that takes. anyway, the main advantage of dogs over cats is that dogs are capable of love.

Posted by: cjm at July 29, 2005 11:23 PM


Posted by: oj at July 29, 2005 11:31 PM


I win because words have meanings...

I hope that you're doing comedy on purpose.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 30, 2005 2:26 AM

My relationship with my cat is like Wuthering Heights.

Posted by: RC at July 30, 2005 11:32 AM

what is "park" in reference to ? i wasn't disagreeing about the universality of domesticating the universe, even a volvano can be placed into the service of man. sometimes an anecdote is just a shared story. damn monkeys got loose and would steal your donut if you weren't careful.

Posted by: cjm at July 30, 2005 1:08 PM


Posted by: oj at July 30, 2005 1:19 PM

Did you have a point, Orrin? I'm not sure what you're getting at with this post or what, if anything, you've convinced yourself that you are winning.

Posted by: creeper at July 30, 2005 6:49 PM