The Ayr

july 16-1

THE AYR: The Ayr of Niger is a place of such splendor that my parents gave my brother, Tercelin a second name: L’Ayr, or the Ayr in French. The Ayr, a land of boulderous mountains, and wide expanses of plains, can feel harsh and barren during the months of April and May, when temperatures soar over 47 degrees celcius. Winter nights easily reach 0 degrees. Rains during July and August turn the plains into a green paradise, where grasses feed grazing wildlife.

The Ayr harbors the jakal and the fenneck fox, magestic gazelles, and a myriad of antelope species. It is home to the multicolored bee eater bird, and the frightening, yet harmless, gigantic transluscent spider, the “mangerolrol”. When I took this photo, Ahoudan had pointed out an elusive wild ram grazing in these mountains. While I was not quick enough to capture the ram, I cought these goats… the most common domesticated animal of the Ayr, closely followed by the camel, sheep, and donkey.

I vividly remember one day, when I was a little girl, Ahoudan running widly, chased by an angry ostrich mother after he stole her egg. Ostrich eggs were prized posessions of the Inadan. After releshing the interior, they would transform the large prize into a gorgeous silver adorned jewelry box. Today, both ostriches and their eggs are a tale of the past. Prehistoric cave paintings and legends also tell of days when lions and giraffes roamed it plains. Wild cats still today hide in the mountain ranges.

The Ayr and its neighboring Tenere region are known as dinasaur graveyards, where paleantologists from around the world search for long lost bones for prehistoric species that lived in what was once a wide expanse of jungle and ocean.