07 May, 2021

Pug Marks In Time

A superb book documents the history and demise of the cheetah

Pug Marks In Time
CHEETAH, the fastest four-footed animal on earth, and one with a long history in the subcontinent, has the dubious distinction of being the only large predator to have been exterminated in India. Till now, anyone wanting to know about it had to leaf through specialist journals or to turn to accounts of coursing antelopes with tame cheetahs from the Mughal and British times. No longer. Divyabhanusinh has produced an elegant and well-illustrated book that will be of enduring interest to anyone interested in ecology. In fact, The End of a Trail goes even further. It is an example of the kind of popular writing that is so rare. The research is meticulous, the prose lucid. Excellent reproductions of paintings and photographs make it a pleasure to read. Culture, ecology, history, art—the seams are woven together with seemingly effortless ease. The cheetah's existence in India is proven beyond doubt. In addition to Sanskrit sources like the Amarakosa, fossil remains and cave paintings point to its presence. Alone among the large carnivores, it has been trapped and used to hunt down...

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