Ann Vole wrote:
I came up with a story along the lines that this is heading... in my story, the Brazilian rain forest was being replaced by a type of fast growing tree that was used for fiber and fuel. The characters in the story are the people and animals that are left in the progressively smaller traditional rain forest part because this farmed tree did not support wildlife or undergrowth plants. In particular I had a leopard-like social animal species that was secretive and had a language and was only discovered in our future due to the shrinking rain forest habitat.
Ohhh! I like the story already!
So here is a more detailed story synopsis:
A legal translator guy loses his wife or girlfriend or his love interest spurned him causing him to be depressed and angry about his fate. He decides to go on a vacation as far away from civilization as possible and an advertisement for a trip to the deepest part of the Amazon to hunt the most dangerous wild animal left in the wild, this species I mentioned that will be discovered in the future.
Intercut with this story arc is the story of the species themselves. They honor their dead by eating them and preserving their pelt which has the unique identifying spots so successive generations can meet the deceased in the form of their pelts. Due to the shrinking habitat, they had to move the hidden stores of these pelts but in the process, the were discovered and many pelt stores were found by humans and sold for making fur coats. They had a tradition and even religion to protect humans but also to remain hidden from them to avoid conflict. This tradition was obviously being challenged now that humans with high tech devices like infrared night goggles and guided bullets were killing them. Some wanted to kill all humans when ever possible but others wanted to remain true to their traditional beliefs and not harm the humans. Some have lost relatives to the humans (and a double loss as the pelt is taken) and some have lost the pelts of their ancestors. One has kept the paws of her mother from the skinned body left behind by the humans.
I have a third element to the story, the native Brazilian short people, the Yanomamo who are also trying to preserve their traditional ways which obviously require traditional hunting grounds but are drawn to the technology and money from tourists like these hunters.
So this city guy who knows dozens of languages as his job is out hunting in the last of the wild places of Brazil and he breaks his leg falling out of a tree but is also knocked unconscious and laying in the forest floor which is flooding with the tides. As he (and all hunters) travel through the forest, the hunted species has scouts keeping track of where the humans are going to evacuate villages that may be in the path of the killers. The two scouts for the legal translator guy are both traditionalists and decide to rescue the human from drowning when the tide rises and nurse him back to health and maybe learn something in the process to stop the hunting. The ones that want to kill humans are not pleased with this idea and tensions grow between the various characters and usually within earshot of our translator friend who is bound up and kept high up in the rainforest canopy. Of course he learns their language but has trouble making the noises these animals make so keeps quiet. Something triggers him to respond eventually and there is no turning back... one of the characters has to learn a human language so the translator teaches her the Yanomamo language as there seems to be some common elements suggesting that there was contact between humans and these animals in the past. He decides to take representatives of his new found friends to the nearest city with the help of some Yanomamo people to go to court seeking to give these animals the status as humans and the protection they receive like that of what the Yanomamo have been trying to secure to protect their land and their culture.
In some versions in my mind, I had the translator's love interest that spurned him being the world renown lawyer for cases such as these who agrees after some strange circumstances while trying to protect the animals from being kidnapped or killed by poor and desperate people who could make several years worth of income from one of these animals. Lots of possible story lines but I am not sure which to go with yet. Of course they get their day in court and win some sort of special rights as sentient creatures (as well as love interest story arcs among the animal representatives... I have some interesting love triangle action)