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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Profile of the Jackalope: Wyoming State Animal

The Jackalope, a cross between a Jack Rabbit and an Antelope, is native to the Western State of Wyoming. Jackalope's faced near extinction in 1919 when prohibition went into effect, as there native habitat of seedy dive bars disappeared. This forced the jackalope into the shadows of speakeasies and bathroom moonshine distilleries. Jackalope's are a nearing extinction again due to the shake up in their socializing and breeding habits. Their legendary nature has thus been scrutinized by claims of being "folkloric." The perception of this claim was an initial defense mechanism of the early jackalope chiefs, but has backfired as of late. There are an estimated 67 Jackalopes left in the world, and thus they are a very coveted by Wyoming C'boys. Unique characteristics of the Jackalope include its shapeshifting ability, venomous molar fangs, and enhanced night vision. According to Medicine Bow legendary pioneersman "Butch Cassidy" the Jackalope's pelt posses invisible or "cloaking" properties which enable safe passage through the mountain ranges and protection against predators. As the state animal of Wyoming the Jackalope is protected by State Legislation since 1933 as part of a Wyoming Rejuvenation National Parks and Wildlife program created to enhance tourism to Wyoming during the Great Depression. The extremely protectionist laws in the State of Wyoming do not allow for any kind of interaction with the Jackalope including socializing outside of speakeasies, cross mating, or hunting of the Jackalope. These outdated laws have especially harsh stipulations against Coloradans or "Greenies" who are subject to punishment of western tortures if caught in the presence of a jackalope. However, as the Jackalope is sacred to Wyomingites, even the mention of hunting a Jackalopes is considered a "faux paw." (Note that traditionally a rabbits foot is considered good luck, but a Jackalope's Paw is the origin of this superstition.) It is rumored that there are a few Jackalope hangouts around underground speakeasies at outposts along the North Fork of the Little Laramie River.

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