National Geographic : 2001 May
GEOGRAPHICA CONSERVATION Black Cat With a Message Wildjaguarsat risk itvt WINIt The kids crowd around and their eyes get big. That's why the Belize Zoo has Ellen, the mysterious "black tiger"-she gets their attention. Ellen is an uncommon, melanistic form of jaguar; when the sun glints off her midnight coat, the jaguar's famil iar spots and rosettes can be seen. She was named for her birthplace, the Ellen Trout Zoo in Texas. Zoo officials gave her to Belize as a symbol to dramatize the need to protect jaguars from poachers and habitat loss throughout the cats' range from northern Argentina to northern Mexico (see article, page 32). ANTHROPOLOGY Bringing Ishi Home Ishiwas one of the last Yahi Indians. Abandoning the northern California wilder ness in 1911, he spent the end of his life living at the University of California's anthropology museum (right), where he dem onstrated Yahi traditions for visitors. When Ishi died of tuber culosis in 1916, he was cremated, but first his brain was removed. Eventually it was sent to the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History, where it was placed in a storage facility. Last summer a group of California Native Americans NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC * MAY 2001 (ABOVE);ARTBYPETERGAEDE reclaimed Ishi's brain, reuniting it with his ashes for a traditional burial in a secret location. ALMANAC May The town of Narcisse, Manitoba, is a-slither with 65,000 red-sided garter snakes in a spring mating frenzy. Emerging from winter dens, a hundred males may pursue one female, envel oping her in a writhing mass called a mating ball. Females summer in nearby marshes; in August they bear 15 to 50 young.