Wow what a day!

I spent yesterday at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation (WHF) again. I wrote a blog entry couple of months back about how I went and volunteered there for the day, but this time I went up for one of their photography days. I wasn’t disappointed – it was another amazing day spent with the cats.

We arrived at 10.30 am and didn’t leave until 6 pm but seven and a half hours just went by really fast! I managed to take about 560 photographs which meant going through them and deciding which to upload has taken me all day today…good job it was a Bank Holiday weekend. The full set can be seen here on Flickr.

Food time

First up we spent an hour or so with the lions while they were being fed. There are three male lions that live there – Tiny, Manzi and Kafara. Tiny is the smallest but you couldn’t call him exactly small!

They each tucked into their giant steaks before hunting out a rabbit or two that had been tucked away for them to find. Then had a quick play, a quick wash and it was back off to sleep!

After the lions we headed over to the first lot of tigers. Eyes are the window to the soulOne of the staff put some small pieces of meat into his enclosure while he was tucked up inside, and then let him out to go hunt for it. He wasn’t overly bothered about moving around too fast but he did find most of it eventually!

While I was here it was good to see how the tiger enclosure I had helped to paint had moved on. It’s not quite open for them to use yet, as some of the gates are still tied on with string! The new house is finished now though and I felt proud to have helped with it.

I see it

After the tigers we went to see Xizi who is one of the Amur Leopards they have there who is part of the Amur Leopard Conservation Programme. There are only around 120 leopards in the European breeding programme, and with only around 35 of these beautiful cats left in the wild she plays an important part of the future of these animals.

Xizi is a very pretty cat, and she has blonde eyelashes! She enjoyed running back and forth for us to the meat that was being thrown through the top of her enclosure.

Big fangsNext up we went to visit Pepo, the resident Cheetah. Despite being the fastest animal around, Pepo decided he wasn’t going to be showing off and took his time wandering over to see us. He did then greet us with a series of cute sounding meows!

More scraps of food were thrown over and we finally got him running back and forth while we happily snapped lots of photographs. Pepo is currently having a rest from his missus who I believe is looking after their offspring. He’s a stunning cat with beautiful markings and colour so I expect his offspring are adorable.

After Pepo we went to see some more of the resident tigers. We had a few near misses as one of them decided it would be incredibly funny to try and spray the photographers. I was lucky to escape one of his attempts by doing a sort of commando roll across the ground at the last second!

Stand tall
Next we went to see Malawi, the Serval currently living at WHF. He is a gorgeous little boy and very pretty. When he was standing upright his two legs perfectly matched each other!

He spent some time posing for us, although did get a little distracted at one point by the sound of a tractor next door. He gets fed 6 times a week but I gather also likes to supplement his diet with any rats and birds which dare to cross into his territory.

Finally we went to see Ranschan and Mizi, the two snow leopards.Daydreaming  Ranschan seems well used to visitors and knew exactly where he was supposed to sit so that the staff could open his gate to throw him in chunks of meat to eat.  Mizi was less used to the public and after a quick wander around to say hello she disappeared off for a sleep.

Ranschan continued to put on a good show for us running back and forth and even climbing up his log to a wooden platform at one point to fetch some meat.

At around 4 pm we had seen all of the cats and were given time to go back and visit some of the cats again.  I went back to see nearly all of the cats, and could easily have stayed all night!  It was wonderful being there, and I even got to stroke one of the tigers again.


5 Responses to “Wow what a day!”

  1. davidlind Says:

    Very nice cat pictures. And you know how to frame a picture. Just wonderful.

  2. Matt Groves Says:

    OMG Helena, sounds like an amazing day ! You photoset is/are simply stunning. Love your work 🙂

  3. davidlind Says:

    I really like the idea of taking a closeup of the eyes. I may try that sometime soon.

  4. ~Sue-Leigh Says:

    great photos! they are beautiful animals 🙂

  5. Sharon Says:

    I am going to the WHF tomorrow for the first time (I have a feeling it won’t be my last) and I can’t wait to not only get the opportunity to shoot these amazing creatures but also get to see them up close.

    I shall be writing about it on my blog afterwards thats for sure!

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