Cat Survival Trust

Okay back in July I said I’d been away and I’d reveal another highlight of my trip ‘soon’ – turns out soon is October as I’ve neglected to keep up with my blog posts!

For mine and my dad’s birthday mum treated us to the Small Cats Workshop with Photographers on Safari.  This was set at the Cat Survival Trust in Hertfordshire who are a charity helping to promote the conservation of wild cats.  At their headquarters in Hertfordshire they have a collection of rescued cats, and cats which have been bred at the facility.

The day started with a health and safety briefing and then was split into two halves where we got to spend time with different sets of cats and photograph them.  This wasn’t really an educational workshop or course, but more a chance to spend a day photographing the cats which suited me fine.

In the morning we spent time with the lynx, serval, snow leopard, puma, clouded leopard, Geoffroy’s cat and Pallas’ cat – although the last two spent most of the time well hidden!  The area on the whole was a little disappointing and I felt the cats didn’t have as much room as they should. 

From a photography perspective, although there was only about 8 photographers it wasn’t ideal as the corridors around the cats were quite narrow and we didn’t have much room to move.  The guy leading the workshop had brought some meat to tempt the cats but there was really only one or two people who could get in a good position at any one time to take some photographs which was a shame.  I decided a better option was to head where the rest weren’t but it meant I didn’t get any action shots.

The highlight for me in the morning were the lynx which were absolutely beautiful.

Lynx 9

In the afternoon we got to spend time with some of the larger cats – the Amur Leopard and the Snow Leopard.  These had larger enclosures which were easier to walk around.  We also got to go see the caracal which was really pretty.

I was lucky to pick a good spot to catch the Amur Leopard up really close as he snarled through the bars at me.

Leopard 16

The absolute highlight of the whole day though happened about half way through the afternoon.  The snow leopards are recently bred and had 3 beautiful cubs.  Due to their young age they were being kept inside a specially humidified room to help their lungs develop.  But we were lucky enough to have one brought out to the field to see us.  She was let free to run around the field exploring while we all sat around ooing and ahing over how cute she was and of course taking hundreds of photographs!  She was very inquisitive and kept running over to see us so we even got a little cuddle with her which was amazing.

Baby snow leopard 28

I adore the big cats and so overall it was a wonderful day.  Any charity doing work towards protecting these beautiful animals gets my vote.  As far as the workshop goes if you want a rare opportunity to get up close to some cats this is for you, but if you want to learn more about photography you might be disppointed.

Many more photographs from the day on my Flickr set.

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