About

Hello, my name is Josh Gross, and I welcome you to my blog.

The most important thing for you to know about me is that I am not an expert on anything I write. If you disagree with something I say, please let me know. I only ask that you do so respectfully, since that is how I will treat you.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, I am an individual who admires the natural world. I have always loved learning about ecosystems and animals, and jaguars fascinate me the most. I also operate under the belief that it is possible for humans and large predators to coexist. It will not be an easy relationship, but the ones that are worthwhile rarely are.

Until recently I was living near Cleveland, Ohio. But I am now enrolled in the Environment and Community (E&C) program at Humboldt State University. I am hoping that this interdisciplinary Master’s program will help me learn how to promote big cat conservation by working directly with the people who live with them. I want to examine the psychological, social, cultural, and other factors that influence how they behave towards big cats. In addition, I want to practice conservation in a way that is empowering for the human communities who share space with them.

If you want to know more about me, please read my first post. You can also look me up on Facebook or Twitter.

88 thoughts on “About

  1. Nice to meet you, Thank you for visiting my blog and also for your beautiful comment. Your blog, your passion fascinated me about Jaguar. Big cats… I am crazy with them all. It would be so nice to be your follower/reader now. Thank you again, have a nice weekend, love, nia

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Eric! Jaguars are special animals. Even compared to other big cats, their ability to inspire people is remarkable. It’s probably true that more people like tigers and lions, but only the jaguar has evoked such a deep level of admiration, even worship, from so many cultures and geographic regions. Even today there are indigenous peoples in South America for whom jaguars are a key part of their spiritual lives. So I think your step son’s obsession is entirely justified :)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, even though our relation with large predators has always been a tough one we share the planet with them too. And we need them. More and more scientific evidence is highlighting the fact that top predators are essential for healthy ecosystems: not to mention how important they are for our cultures. We should try to minimize the damage they cause, but we also need to make sure animals like tigers and jaguars persist long into the future.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Paul, thank you for this nomination and your kind words. I’m happy that you’ve learned a lot from this blog, because much of my motivation for starting it was to share what I’ve learned with others. However, I think I’m going to decline this award. It’s nothing personal, I’m just trying to keep my blog focused on my main topic, because I have many things I’d like to write about in the near future.

      Again, thank you for your thoughts and wonderful comments!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a great blog, Josh. Pleasure to follow you. I had interest in wildlife documentaries and I am planning to write a post on making a wildlife documentary which will be a researched article. I look forward to more posts from you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sudhir! I’m pleased to follow your blog as well, since you have a lot of wisdom to share. I’m looking forward to your post on making wildlife documentaries! Such films can be powerful tools for increasing our appreciation of wildlife.

      Like

  3. Hi there I found you by accident, you were having a lovely banter with a 20 something student who pulled a face in her avatar and posted you a video. I thought your Jaguar was interesting so came for a read. 😇

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It takes a lot to leave what you are doing and take up what fascinates you..! Cheers to that!! This is very interesting, and I must say, the cover picture of the Jaguar, that intriguing stare has so much within it!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I assure you that it wasn’t an easy decision to leave the program I was in, as I’d been following that track for years. But after getting a little taste of what real passion feels like I knew what I had to do.

      Yes, that picture is good one! I actually wasn’t going to use it at first, but was unable to get permission to post the image that was my first choice. In the end I’m glad things worked out the way they did. It just goes to show you that sometimes “failure” is exactly what we need!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Is anyone really an expert in anything or you just happen to know ( or think you know) more about it than anyone else?? Just a random thought
    Thank you for stopping by my blog, reciprocity (that word took quite a few attempts to spell I turned off my spell-check you see)
    Hmmm a relationship between humans and large predators, I read something that its all fun and games till the predator gets hungry …..
    I love The Jaguar (does the car count?) magnificent beast had a dream I took it out for a ride kept trying to bite me but fun times

    ~B

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hmmm…now that you bring it up I’m not really sure what an expert is. To me they seem to be people whom others perceive as being so knowledgeable about a certain topic that their word is often taken as fact. I definitely don’t want anyone to think of me that way, because I still have a lot to learn about big cat conservation.

      I definitely don’t recommend keeping big cats or other large predators as pets. That kind of relationship has a very high chance of ending badly, even before the predator gets hungry. Love is all well and good, but it can’t undo thousands of years of evolution. I guess what I meant by “a relationship between humans and large predators” has more to do with how we choose to treat them in the wild. If these animals are going to persist in the future we’re going to have to kill them less often and find ways to provide for our own needs without altering natural ecosystems any more than is necessary. But I included the phrase “won’t be easy” because I don’t want to sound overly idealistic: big cats do sometimes cause problems and we’ll need to deal with them in ways that impact their populations as little as possible.

      Yes jaguar cars count, because they’re awesome! The Jaguar company has also given lots of money to jaguar (the animal) conservation in the past, but I don’t know what they’re doing right now.

      Thanks for your detailed comments! I appreciate the fact that you read this post so thoroughly, and you really made me think (in a good way)!

      Like

      1. On the relationship between man and beast…. I feel making a pet of it (even if it could be tamed and all) just takes away the wild majestic grace they have….
        Hahaha you are welcome for the brain food ;)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hi Josh!! Nice to meet you. First, sorry my English :-) ! I am not fluent but I am trying. Beaton is right. The world is a big, big place and the Nature have so many details that we couldn’t imagine. We learn with each step taken and the jaguars and pumas (in my case, they are my target and my teachers!), as a big predators can teach us so many things about the ecology, biology and environment. But I think the most difficult thing is to understand the human mind. Why people still kill these animals, even though some of them not have any more problems, for example domestic animals predation. Good have more researchers working in that. Good luck! (just to inform, recently I asked help to Jaguar car and unfortunately they do not help conservation project anymore, just technological and something else in these area).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello Claudia! It’s wonderful to talk to you! I’ve been reading a little bit about you on Jonaton’s blog, so I’m thrilled that you’ve contacted me.

          I’m afraid the human mind is almost as complex as nature. It’s difficult to make generalizations about why people do certain things, like kill big predators even when they don’t seem to have problems with them. Obviously I’m very new to this field, but some factors I’ve seen come up in the literature I’ve read are social and cultural norms, protesting against unfair treatment, and for “the thrill of the hunt.” But while these results help give us a better idea of the general reasons why people might kill large predators, it might be hard to know why specific individuals or groups of people behave the way they do without spending time getting to know them.

          Also, I know this isn’t really scientific, but from my counseling training I’ve seen that sometimes people don’t fully understand why they do what they do. Sometimes people have been acting in a specific way for so long that they can’t easily describe what their reasons are. I wonder if that could sometimes be true for why people kill big predators?

          That’s too bad to hear that Jaguar cars doesn’t support conservation anymore. I was thinking about asking them for help for my thesis research!

          Lastly, would it be easier for you to communicate in Spanish? I know a little bit of it, and I understand that Portuguese and Spanish are similar.

          Like

  6. Hi Josh! Nice to meet. I like your passion about these majestic creatures, jaguars. I’ll be catching up to read more of your informative posts. Once again, thanks for visiting my blog. Much appreciated!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nice to meet you. Now I must say that your Blog title caught me, I find it so strange and yet so intriguing. Looking at your page then I grasp on your personality immediately. Quite an anventuruous spirit and I like that. I am curious how are you doing it? I mean jaguars & you..I admire this courage. As a commoner there is an innate feeling in us that we can’t be lax when these type of animals are around,I mean,Hey,It’s Jaguar! As I am fascinated by metal health & wellness, I hope you don’t mind that I follow your Blog. Thanks and I look forward to know you more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comments. I’m particularly pleased that you can get a sense of my personality from my page. Since many of my posts are research-based I have been wondering if I’m hiding myself from my readers, and I’m glad to hear that I’m not.

      I won’t lie, I am nervous about encountering a wild jaguar. I know all the research says that they’re by far the least aggressive big cats, and possibly large predator, towards people. But I am subject to the same instinctual reactions as everyone else. Since I’m just starting this journey I probably won’t be working in the field for a while, but if I ever do meet a wild jaguar (many jaguar scientists never do), I’ll just have to use my rational mind to calm my fears.

      As for how I’m currently pursuing my goals, I’m just taking one step at a time. Right now my top priority is getting the education that will allow me to do what I feel like I’m meant to do.

      I’m honored to have you following me! I’ll check out your blog as soon as I get a chance.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I meant it when I say that your personality is exuded by what you are writing.Not all people share the same passion & interest that you do but when people notice it, it means its interesting enough to dig in.
        Wishing you all the best in your endeavors.
        I’ll be following up your stories & musing about your Jagged Jaguar edged-life..:) & thanks a lot for dropping by my page. I appreciate it!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Josh, I know all about following your passion. For years, I was following what I thought was my passion but was really what others said I was good at. I was very depressed because I couldn’t work thanks to physical and emotional health issues. Then one day out of nowhere my passion and ability to put words to paper/screen came back and I knew I had to pursue it. I really look forward to following along as you pursue your passion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Lydia! I’m happy to hear that you eventually re-discovered your passion for writing, despite the many challenges you’ve had to deal with.

      I always knew counseling wasn’t really my passion, but I pursued it because it was a good fit for my skills. But similar to how your enthusiasm for writing reemerged out of nowhere, my love of wildlife came flooding back too. I knew then that I couldn’t ignore it; again much like you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am so thrilled Josh!Your love for Nature is admirable and it is great that you are pursuing your dream your passion! I am confident I will learn a lot through your posts! Thank you so much for connecting! :)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Josh,
    Hello, Thank you stopping by my page and taking a sneak peak. I appreciate the fact you took time to follow my blog as well, and I hope it becomes of use and if not, at least semi entertaining; and like you, I am not always right, so feel free to make corrections or to let me know if there is something you do not agree with that I do write. I am not perfect so I expect to make mistakes! Also, such an interesting turn in career choices; opposites but at the same time, semi same concepts just different, if this makes sense. I love wildlife, not necessarily any particular animal but just wildlife in general and it is neat that people like yourself have fondness and love for something that you are willing to learn and teach it. How long have you worked in this career path? I will be sure to take time to look over your other post! P.S I find your page to be very alluring! I also live in Ohio, small world but very nice :)

    Shay-lon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Shay, thanks for your lovely comments! I honestly don’t know much about exercise science, except for how to overdo it and get hurt 😝 So I’m sure I’ll learn a few things from you!

      You’re absolutely right that my current field is both different and similar to my previous one. It’s still a type of psychology, so much of what I learned about human behavior and building relationships still applies. But since it’s focused on applying that knowledge to wildlife conservation there’s a whole new dimension to it, and I have a lot of catching up to do on the biological stuff!

      You’re one of those people to! You have a fondness for learning and teaching about how to stay fit and healthy, which are very important!

      I’ve only been on this path for about a year, although I’ve loved to learn about wildlife for as long as I can remember. Most of this past year has been spent catching up on information I missed due to not having much training in biology/ecology, learning Spanish, and applying to graduate programs. I’m moving to Cali for school in one month 😉

      Thanks for the compliment on my page! I like it too 😁

      Small world indeed! Although like I said I won’t be in Ohio much longer. With luck I’ll be able to leave Cleveland before it gets destroyed during the Republican convention!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chris,
        Hm, I am learning something new already about your field. Quite frankly, I think the field you are in now may be more challenging, but that is because I am biased. lol I know nothing much about your field and even though I have taken countless psychology classes, not everything has stuck with me. A year? not very long at all, you are just beginning and still progressing through the stages, that is exciting! congrats :) I think with your positivity and willpower, you will do a lot in your field of work and hopefully will reach many people! :)
        Oh you have chosen to go to school in Cali? now with that being said, do you plan to stay in Cali, even after school or no? Why did you choose Cali for schooling? :) curious because I have never been to that state and I with you as far as the ‘republican convention’. I had originally planned on moving to Columbus this year as a start in a bigger city but I decided I would continue my education (just a year if I am lucky) and go from there. I am not a HUGE Ohio fan but I haven’t had much time to research other states of interest yet. Something I hope to do soon, so that I have an idea of where I want to be in life, ya know?
        Also, good luck in school!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. This new field seems harder to me too. I mean counseling can be incredibly difficult, there’s no doubt about that. But now I’ll be trying to reverse species declines in an age of unprecedented resource use, globalization, and massive inequality. Not easy.

          Thanks for your reassurances! I do hope I’ll do well :)

          I chose to go to Cali mainly because I really like the program I’m going into. It seems like a great way to learn about the human dimensions of conservation. It will also help to be living in mountain lion territory, as that will open up many new learning opportunities!

          Ohio’s not horrible, but it’s also not my favorite state. There are lots of good higher education opportunities here though, and I’m glad you’re taking advantage of them!

          I know what it’s like to not know where you want to be in life! As hard as it might be, try not to worry about it and just take things one step at a time. Eventually you’ll figure it out!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. No problem! And I just realized that I forgot to answer your question about whether or not I plan on staying in California after school. At this point it’s too early to tell. What I’d like to do more than anything is spend a serious amount of time in Latin America (preferably northern Mexico or somewhere in the Amazon rainforest) studying the factors that determine how people act towards jaguars or other wildlife. So if that works out I definitely won’t be staying in Cali!

            Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice to come across your blog Josh :) I have always been intrigued by big cats and I am happy to know that I have a place to know more about them. Looking forward to reading your posts. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ranjini! It’s always good to come across another big cat lover!

      It might be a week or two before I’m able to release new material, but if you look through my archives there are a lot of posts that might help you learn more about big cats. There’s also a recommended reading section in the menu bar at the top of the blog that contains a list of some of the books that I’ve found to be helpful.

      Enjoy your Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Becoming The Muse
    1. Hello Rosaliene, and thank you for the information! I knew the jaguar was the native animal of Guyana, but I hadn’t realized they appeared on your coat of arms. I’ve never been there, but from what I’ve seen Guyana seems like an incredible country. The amount of biodiversity there boggles my mind, especially since I come from a region of the US where much of the native wildlife has been lost due to overexploitation. In fact I’d love to be able to go to Guyana one day to learn more about how people relate to and value animals like jaguars.

      Liked by 1 person

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