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An exhibition at the Natural History Museum unveils Wednesday and until next year the felines and their lives, through a fabulous presentation of stuffed specimens. The visit also recalls the threats to certain species, such as the Iberian lynx.
Whether it’s our own apartment tom, Bagheera, the black panther from the jungle book, from Hobbes, the sarcastic tiger of the turbulent Calvin, or from King, the lion of Joseph Kessel, felines are part of our real or imaginary life. We all think we know them well, with their proud and independent character, their prodigious hunting skills. And yet. You have to take a tour of the fabulous scientific exhibition that the National Museum of Natural History, in Paris, is devoting to them from this Wednesday and until next January 7, to understand that their universe is even larger and richer.
To begin with, 35 of the 38 species of this large family of mammals present everywhere on the planet (with the exception of Australia, Madagascar and the poles) stare at us in the form of magnificent stuffed specimens. There are the stars, of course – tiger, lion, cheetah, leopard, puma, lynx, snow leopard or jaguar. Without forgetting the domestic cat, a distant descendant of the African gloved cat. But there are also smaller, more discreet felines with often surprising names, from the jaguarondi to the guigna, via the margay, the ocelot, the oncille, the caracal, the serval, the clouded leopard and a host of species of cats (flat-headed, pampas, Geoffroy, sables, etc.). Only the collection of specimens lacks the three rarest species: the Andean cat, the black-legged cat from South Africa and the cat.