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The Frozen Leopard
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    Unidentified frozen leopard carcass
    Discovered by Lutheran pastor Richard Reusch atop Mt. Kilimanjaro
    Found roughly 18,500 feet along the crater rim of Kilimanjaro's lofiest volcano sub-peak, Kibo
    Location of the discovery now known as 'Leopard Point'
    Famous as a literary symbol in the opening paragraph for Ernest Hemingway' 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro' (written in 1936)
    Passage reads: '[Kilimanjaro's] Western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai,' the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.'
    What the hell was a jungle cat doing at the highest/coldest mountain peak on the continent?
    Such a big scientific find and the guy couldn't even bother to name the damned thing? (Lucy the Leopard has a ring to it, but of course its taken...)
    Reusch even returned to the same spot a year later, finding the contorted carcass perfectly untouched and intact. He lobbed off its ear for a souvenir.
    Actually the idea of a large mammal scaling the mountain isn't THAT unheard of - several other cases have also surfaced involving leopards, lions (as high as 14,000 feet), and even a pack of wild dogs (in 1962; the last non-human mammals recorded to have reached the top).
    Retellings of the discovery story tend to mistakenly claim that Ernest Hemingway found the leopard himself (he never hiked beyond his savanna safari camp but relied on local myths to open his short story symbolically).
    S/he froze to death and died alone.
    S/he apparently climbed the top while preying on a goat (whose bones, according to Reusch, were several feet away).
    Africa called it 'probably the most famous high-elevation spotted cat in the history books.'
    It is memorialized in a popular 1985 South Korean pop song first performed by Cho Yong-Pi.
    Its decayed remains apparently can still be found at Leopard Point (where its so cold and dry that almost nothing decomposes entirely).
    Roger Ebert grouped it with the 'Rosebud' sled, 'the bone tossed in 2001: Space Odyssey,' and 'the green light in The Great Gatsby' in his review of 'Citizen Kane.'
    It has been immortalized in a short story written by one of the 20th-century's most famous writers.
    Although the meaning of the famous epigraph has always been open-ended, many interpret it as a symbol of rugged determination (a mountaineering jungle cat braving freezing temperatures and high elevation for what it wants? Talk about perseverance!)

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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