The word camelopard, which gives title to this contribution, was originally used to describe the giraffe. It originates from Medieval Latin and it is composed by the words camel and leopard, as the giraffe was thought to have a head like a camel's and spots like a leopard’s. Most naturalists had never seen a giraffe in real life and they had to rely on second hand experiences to illustrate it. Imagination mediated their scientific investigation in a way that distorted their understanding of the animals they professed to study. As humanity approaches an age of loneliness, exploring human’s limitations in understanding and valuing animals has to become a priority and questions about how humans relate to animals must be addressed:
What value do humans place on animals? Why are different values placed on animals according to their ‘usefulness’ to humans? Is the value of livestock higher than of wild animals? Which animals are worthy of being allowed existence and have their habitats protected? To what ends do humans classify animals as ‘others’ using socially constructed negative differences?
The work Camelopard addresses these questions indirectly, exploring proximity and distance between humans and animals and suggesting that human’s abilities and limitations for
understanding animals’ nature is what shapes human’s relationship with them.