Native Fauna

Animals in common with North & South America, and animals unique to Bergonia




The Preba, the great wild cat of Bergonia, the top of the food chain, and the national symbol.

"preh-bah" is the pronunciation in all native languages.  Speakers of the European languages generally say "pree-ba."  It is a word of great antiquity with very little change over the millennia. Historical linguists are pretty sure that the word was essentially the same in early Proto-Minidun and Kuan and quite likely Proto-Pasan as well.  Many of the earliest inscriptions contain the sequence of letter "p-r-b," using writing systems that recorded only consonants, like many of the earliest writing systems in the Middle East.  

The Preba is about the build of a jaguar-cat, but a little thinner and lighter.  It commonly has a full, jaguar-like feline face, with ears longer and more tapered like a cat.  Preba genetics are more plastic than those of most of the world's other large cats, and thus exhibits more variation.  The preba is  generally tawny or tan, like a couger, but some are light-gray or silver-gray, and some of any color sometimes have black or dark gray on the face, feet and tail, especially the characteristic "M" on the forehead.

The preba prefers the mountains and defiles in the high places.  They generally live in monogamous couples, though some males have more than one female.  This great meat-eater preys on the tuashe, antelope and deer. 

The Preba was at the top of the food chain (that honor now goes to us) and symbolized power and nobility.  Bergonians have always been deeply attached to groups (e.g. clans), but the Preba's solitary ways suggest something sympathetic to the individual warrior.  Men of the Preba Clan in ancient society were far more likely to become rulers than any other clan.  Some preba-clan rulers became almost ridiculously protective of the "noblest beast."  In the last 200 years the preba has served as a potent political symbol-- witness the Mountain Cat Party and the PRB. 

Prebas for centuries have made horrible visitations upon the sheep of the hill shepherds. The specie would likely have been hunted down to extinction a long time ago, but for the quasi-religious reverence the animal enjoys.  In medieval times, after the forests had receded, the sovereigns made it practice of compensating shepherds for their preba-inflicted losses, in order to keep the shepherds from hunting the noble cats.  

This of course became something of a racket.  One medieval comedy relates how a bunch of desperate farmers decide to become shepherds in order to bamboozle the tieri with falsely killed sheep.  They slaughtered so many sheep on the mountainside and made so many claims that the tieri, his ministers and all the people in the region became convinced that some unholy preba-monster was on the loose.  The tieri came with his staff, a platoon of priests and knowledgeable scribes, generals and soldiers and occupied the village, expecting the villagers to tell them about the monster and to take them up on the mountainside.  The faux-shepherds go to elaborate lengths to keep up the ruse until they become rich.

The Pretla, a bobcat-sized wildcat of various colors—black, gray, tawny, reddish and a number of mixtures, about the same size of a North American bobcat, but leaner and longer, usually ten to fifteen pounds.  It is every bit as secretive as a bobcat, and very nocturnal.  Preys on rabbits, tapirs & rodents, also some scavenging.  Will fight dogs.  This species has been endangered until recent years.

The Pulre is a smaller wildcat, about the size of an African Wildcat or a small domesticated cat, only about five pounds. It is the origin of the Bergonian domestic cat that mated with the domesticated cat brought to Bergonia by European settlers. Since the Eurasian domesticated cat probably derived from either the African Wild Cat or the Jungle Cat, zoologists have sought to compare these two species with the Bergonian Pulre, and have concluded that the Pulre is genetically very similar to the Jungle Cat, suggesting again prehistoric human links between Bergonia and Africa. Perhaps early seafarers transported some Jungle Cats or Pulres.  The most ancient literature (hymn, prayers, dedications, spells) all mention cats in the company of priests, priestesses and sorcerers.


The Vishget, a gray wild dog lived in Bergonia before Columbus. The Vishget was highly unpopular and associated with Tanteli, the evil prankster god, and also with Fane, the goddess of fate. The vishget, like all other canines the world over, lives in packs. This dog is only two and a half feet in average height and only forty-sixty pounds.

The people of Pre-columbian Bergonia regarded the vishget at best as a nuisance.  No clan was named after the vishget.  Many sought to kill them, even though Shufrantei law forbade the "unnecessary" death of an animal.  In Tanic times the vishget almost disappeared altogether, but the arrival of the Europeans and the resulting calamitous decline in the native population gave the vishget a reprieve. Even though Bergonia’s population surged from 1750 to 1950, the vishget survived in small pockets, reduced to perhaps a low of 9,000, but now under environmental protection and flourishing.

The Tlafri, a large, lean breed of dog, usually brown or black, with a long narrow muzzle, the standard mutt version about 30-40 pounds.  The natives domesticated it around 1000 B.C.  From the tlafri the natives bred several varieties of working dogs of varying sizes and characteristics.  It was not until Medieval times that people in Berg started breeding dogs as pets.  There are descended from the Tlafri 47 registered, recognized and shown breeds of dog.

The most notorious is the Numon hound, a hugely tall lanky canine and a disposition that makes it very amenable to human discipline, but also a killer.  Most similar in appearance to a Rhodesian Ridgeback (a.k.a. African Lion Dog), except its head & ears look like a Doberman Pinscher.   While Dobermans & Lion Dogs weigh in at about 80 pounds, the Numon is   The ancient Ceiolaians bred the Numon for tracking on the hunt, and they hunt by both sight and sound, and pursue their prey much like stag hounds .  They are associated with banda warriors, traveling in a fierce pack.  The Numon  is lightening fast and have been known to bring down deer.  Imagine a breed of killer greyhounds or giant Dobermans.   It has been called the Tyrannosaurus Rex of Dogs.

The most adored breed is the Ichastli, the Bergonian sheep dog, rather like an Belgian Malinois or Belgian shepherd, two feet high, approx. at the withers & 60 pounds weight, a good smart dog useful as a guard dog and now the premier dog used for police work in Bergonia.

The Tlori, the smaller common canine, Bergonia's third native species of canine, the smallest, usually yellow, buff or brown in collar, usually never more than 25 pounds.  Several varieties have been bred, including sheep dogs, but never over thirty pounds.  Historical records indicate that there were wild tloris as recently as 500 AD.


Two species of monkeys live in the southern and eastern lowlands of Bergonia, wherever thick forests grow. Much of the south is open country, but thick forests grow in the southwest, in the hills and low mountains, and along the rivers and coasts. There are thick cloud forests on the eastern slopes of the southern Spichelamos, and thick jungles covering the Plu Mountains in the southwest.  In these locales the monkeys frolic and prosper. The Black Monkey resemble the spider monkey and the Gray Monkey resembles the woolly monkey.

The natives have regarded the monkeys as charming nuisances. Unlike the Indians of tropical America, Bergonians have always abhorred the thought of eating monkeys. Throughout history, however, the natives have sought to make the monkeys pets, of course with usually disappointing results.  Current populations are restricted but stable or growing, and neither species has ever been threatened.


The Hundre, a reddish bear smaller than the North American black bear, hardly ever more than 250 pounds. It is a shy animal and lives in the forests and mountains. But if cornered it can display a wild fury.  This bear does not hibernate in the strict sense like Neolithic species, but will sleep and doze in cold and lean times.  It is the only species of bear in the world that has adapted the hibernating tendency against drought instead of winter.  This is the only bear species indigenous to Bergonia.  

Hoofed Animals

The Olre, native version of sheep, smaller than most breeds of sheep in Eurasia.  Also very similar in build, look, habits, and economic usefulness, the Bergonian sheep is altogether a different species from any Eurasian animal.  The rams have fine curling horns.

The Clei, native species of goat, likewise smaller than most breeds of goats in Eurasia.  Pre-columbian Bergonians relied on the different breeds of clei for milk, meat, hair and hides.

The Tlaio, a hoofed animal very similar to the donkey. It cannot mate with the donkey, the horse or any other species. It's smaller than the donkey,  averaging four feet at the shoulders. The natives used it to pull their plows, but people have found them temperamentally unsuited for use as a beast of burden.  It a buff or tan color, with a few breeds sporting silver-gray or charcoal-gray coats.   Whatever the color, there is usually a darker stripe running down the neck & back.    

The Tuashe (N.), also called the Beinu (M.), a four foot tall wild ass living in the mountains, usually favoring the meadow and open spaces above the tree line.  They are gray, light gray or pale in color.  The bucks have thick straight horns, thus favored for hunting by upper-classes  once, and became a threatened species.  Unfortunately the Beinu contributed to its own decrease by its peculiar curiosity.  It on occasions follows hikers and hunters  and intrudes upon their campsites.  It is nevertheless skittish and rather steadfastly refuses any human touch.  On occasion herders will find several Tuashe grazing in meadow with their sheep and goats.  The meat of this animal is not much to anyone's taste.  It was once classed as  an endangered species, but with protected status the population is rebounding nicely.

The Solenodon, like the rare species in Cuba, Hispanola and other Caribbean islands.  Imported mongooses killed off all the Solenodons in Cuba, but it survives in great numbers in Bergonia. The Solenodon goes by the Minidun word Tiercre ("tee-eh'-creh")  It lives in all subtropical forests.  It is the size of a guinea pig or smaller, with a long pointy noise and skinny rat-like tail.  The critter runs in a zig-zag manner, even when under pursuit by a fast predator.  It will sometimes trip over its own feet.  It is hunted with dogs in Haiti, and the hunters there say it will stick its head in a hole with the rest o its body exposed to the dogs' eyes.  It is also called Shifla, a Nacateca world which means "silly" or "dumb" in only mildly pejorative terms.




Rev. 7 May  05

General Observations:

Many of the native species are smaller than their counterparts in Europe and America. The smaller size of Bergonia fauna is its primary distinguishing characteristic. The smaller size seems to fit comfortably with the smaller size of the island itself and its correspondingly smaller environments.  The analogy would be perfect, except that the atrei-- the people of Bergonia-- have always been rather tall.

The most obvious point about Bergonian fauna is that, since the continental island has been isolated geographically for millennia from the rest of the world, various species have evolved into unique forms. Another instance of this isolation is the Galapagos Islands, whose distinct forms of fauna were the subjects of Charles Darwin’s studies. A much more substantial example is Australia, whose fauna includes many marsupials that exist nowhere else.

Even though Bergonia is home for many unique species, and many unique breeds and variants of other species which are not to be found anywhere else, there are unaccountably present in Bergonia many species which are also indigenous to either North America or Eurasia.  North American and Eurasia are at least connected by the Bering Straits crossing. The Bering straits is only sixty miles wide. By contrast, Bergonia is over five hundred miles away from the nearest land mass-- in fact the most isolated of all the land masses not counting New Zealand.  Conventional earth science maintains that Bergonia has been isolated from the rest of the world’s land masses since before the Cenozoic Age, the time in which all mammals came into their present form. How the bear, the deer, the raccoon and other Nearctic species came to be present on Bergonia is a mystery.  How sheep and goats came to be on Bergonia is even a greater mystery. 

Some Bergonians look to ancient native myths for the answer, which refer to the ancient Atlantean super-continent.  Most versions say that highly civilized peoples lived there and colonized the rest of the world, which would allow for no end of species transmigrations-- as has happened since the age of European exploration and colonization, not to mention global capitalism.  Some versions of the tale say Atlantis was connected to other parts of the world by a land bridge. Conventional science laughs at all this. Conventional science, however, fails to explain many other things as well.  He who has no explanation should be careful to condemn the man who does.  Although the man who does have an explanation should not take it very seriously.

Maritime Life

Bergonia's oceanic waters team with sardines, tuna, swordfish and flounder.  The bays and harbor yield up copious amounts of shrimp and other shellfish.  There are plenty of flying fish, shark, and dolphins in these waters.  

In the Birikun and the other coastal bays and waters along the coast of Amota (eastern Berg) one finds huge quantities and varieties of shellfish.  The two bays of Clacupo in the west also contain sizeable quantities of shellfish, although industrial pollution from the many cities ringing the bays killed much of it and made the rest unfit to eat.  Even now, although the two bays are now vastly cleaner than they were just 30 years ago, the environmental authorities have not approved the shellfish ready for human consumption because of mercury levels.  Bergonians, of course, are much more sensitive about mercury poisoning than Americans.

Between Pasiana in the northeast and the Azores lies the biggest breeding ground in the Atlantic for the sperm whale.  Some Pasans rose canoes over the waters in pre-columbian times to hunt the whales, as did the Indians of British Columbia.  Later the French, particularly the Huguenots, became adept at whaling.  Under the Bergonian flag a great whaling industry grew all along the north coast, rivaling the whaling industry in New England.  

Now of course the whales are protected under Bergonian law.  Bergonia has designated a "no whaling" zone in a wide stretch of the North Atlantic.  Of course the other nations of the world maintain that this unilateral action violates the Law of the Seas and all other international law.  But the Bergonian policy-makers since the "Greening"  have used the "no whaling" zone as an important test of national will.  A number of Japanese and Norwegian whalers have been intercepted at sea and seized.  There have been shrill complaints, but the Bergonians don't care.


Bergonian lowland bird populations, similar to the birds of Caribbean region, include herons, egrets, turkey vultures, ospreys, hawks, coots, cormorants, cuckoos & doves.  See Cuban Bird Species for general info, also a List of Cuban Bird Species   The highlands birds are similar to birds of the Southeastern United States.  Thrushes, woodpeckers and blackbirds live island-wide.  

Migratory birds:  Many of the native species migrate.  Some species spend summers in eastern Canada and fly to Bergonia in the winter.  A few species spend winter in Bergonia and fly south to Venezuela or Brazil.

Turkeys:  Ample evidence exists in the archeological record--depictions painted on surviving pottery shards, bone fragments found in early ruins, linguistic evidence-- that Bergonians had domesticated turkeys in Neolithic times. They have always constituted an important part of the atrei diet.

Eagles:  These grand birds totally mesmerized the Bergonian imagination.  They equated it with religious power.  Ierecina and all the Minor Prophets were of the Eagle Clan.  In his great miracle, he transformed into an eagle.  There are bald eagles, and a native species called the Korletle Eagle.

Rodents & other small mammals

The Sheia, a  rodent animal as large as a very large guinea pig, and looking very similar.  It is forest dwelling, fast on its feet, and elusive, and eats nuts, seeds, fruit and roots.   The pre-columbian atrei considered its meat a delicacy,  and was domesticated, but it is not much eaten these days.  

Nowadays they are domesticated as children's pets. Children have always loved them. For centuries their cartoon faces have adorned cribs, toys and kid's art.  The ancient Ceiolaians accuse the even-more-ancient Kuans of making their children love Sheias as pets but then making them strangle, slaughter, cook and eat their pets upon reaching the age of 14, the age of initiation in traditional Berg societies.  The Ceiolaians, being civilized people, naturally doted on their offspring.

Today children watch Shu-Shu-Sheia, a mischievous cartoon hero who rescues stolen toys for children and runs off bad guys.  He wears a wide-brimmed straw hat, common among the atrei for centuries, with a big red hawk-feather sticking up.

The Seupu , a small rodent very similar to the South American Agouti.  It lives in the woodlands and thrives on leaves, roots,, nuts and fruits.  It swims remarkably well, and very fast afoot.  Because of its meat it was hunted in pre-columbian times.  because it was so hard to catch, many people tried.  Only patience and guile would work.  At least ten breeds of seupu exist, with all combinations of furry colors.  The largest breed reaches eighteen inches in length (minus tail). 

The Possum   The Bergonian variety is very much like the North American variety, but smaller, reflecting the natural diminutive tendency of Bergonian fauna in general.  

Shu-Shu-Sheia sometimes likes to arrange to have his pranks blamed on Putishi, the sad-faced possum girl.  Shu-Shu-Sheia  rescued poor hapless and not-too-bright Putishi from the Boar, from the Farmer-Man (with his pitchfork and his collection of sharp-edged farm implements), and from a host of other villains.  But when the two are cornered by the pack of Namon hounds (see below), it was Putishi who snapped her teeth and challenged the dogs, while Shu-Shu-Sheia squealed and scampered about.  In post-modern send-ups, Putishi after taking all kinds of abuse gets to knock the crap out of Shu-Shu-Sheia.

The Bisceri, a unique animal, looks like a big red long-tailed squirrel, nocturnal, with bulging amber eyes and a long jointed finger, more developed than a raccoon's paw, very serviceable for grasping tree limbs.  The fingers also enable the Bisceri to dig and claw dead wood and earth for grubs, larvae and bugs.  They live on the ground and in burrows, but climb trees.

This critter bears resemblance to the aye-aye (daubentonia madagascariensis), an extremely rare squirrel-like primate in the Madagascar. Both animals are nocturnal, arboreal, and solitary. the aye-aye has but one finger of its front paw for use in tearing into wood, but the Bisceri uses all four fingers, and all-in-all enjoys more dexterity in the trees.

Some natives of Madagascar maintain that anyone anyone who eats an aye-aye will die within a year's time.  The ancient Bergonians entertained the superstition that eating Bisceri meat guarantees one solid year of bad luck.  Both animals thus enjoy protection from legends.  

This old tale is told:  A particularly prideful trapper once found a Bisceri in one of his traps.  He took it home and ordered his wife to cook it up for dinner.  She argues and he insisted.  His friends stopped by and argues with him, but he insisted.  His neighbors heard the commotion, came over, and they argued with him, but he insisted.  The wife produced the desired meal, but no one would eat of it except the stubborn trapper.  He proclaimed, "This meat is delicious."  Within the next year a falling tree crushed his wife, leaving him with small children, thieves rustled his sheep,  he lost all his possessions in an unlucky dice game, his housed caught fire and one of his children burned up.  His friends greatly pitied him.  A few days before the anniversary of the Bisceri feast his friends went to speak to him.  "Surely your luck will change now; let us throw you a dinner."  But suddenly a preba-cat jumped out of the nearby woods and attacked the trapper, ignoring the other men.  The preba slashed the trapper before the  other men could run it off.  They carried their badly-wounded friend back to his house, but they could all see that he would not live.  As he lay on his death-bed, he said, "well, I'll tell you the truth now, that Bisceri was the worst tasting thing I ever ate." 

The Tapir

Tapirs are shy, reclusive hoofed animals that live in nearly any wooded or grassy habitat with a permanent supply of water. They have also been found in dry deciduous forests and mountain forests.

The Bergonian specie is small, the size of a small donkey. Their body is rounded in back and tapering in front-- suited for rapid movement through thick underbrush. They also have a very short tail. Tapirs have bristly hairs scattered all over the body. This specie is solidly dark brown or gray in color.  Tapirs have a short, fleshy proboscis formed by the snout and upper lips. Tapir eyes are small and flush with the side of the head; their ears are oval, erect, and not very mobile.

Tapirs have one offspring after a gestation of about 13-14 months. Young of all four species have striped markings which are lost after the first 6 months of life. The young are weaned after 10-12 months, and sexual maturity is reached at about 2-4 years. Tapirs live for approximately 30 years.

Tapirs are exclusively herbivorous, sheltering in thickets by day and emerging at night to feed in bordering areas of grasses or shrubs. They eat the leaves, buds, twigs and fruits of low-growing, terrestrial plants and also consume aquatic vegetation. They are very good swimmers and are fond of splashing in water and wallowing in mud. They are essentially solitary except for females with offspring.

Tapirs have been extensively hunted for food and sport in some areas, although some Indian tribes refuse to kill tapirs for religious reasons. They have been known to damage corn crops and other grains, although they are not in general considered a pest species.


Other Topics on Animals:

Respect for Animals in traditional Bergonia

Eating Meat in Bergonia

The Clan System, based on animal totems