Tag Archives: leopard

Exotic Feline Rescue Center

wpid7235-AU0E4682.jpgNancy came across a place recently called the Exotic Feline Rescue Center.  Located near Terre Haute in Indiana, this is a facility that takes care of large cats that have been mistreated or are no longer able to be looked after where they are.  They have over 300 large cats, a large proportion of which are tigers but also with many cougars, some lions and a smaller number of a variety of other cat.  They do not breed the animals, nor do they trade in them.  Instead, they are available to provide a home to cats that need it to allow them to live out their lives in comfort.

wpid7231-AU0E4677.jpgWe arranged a trip for a few days to include a visit to the Center.  They provide tours to visitors.  The tour covers one part of the Center and will get you close to approximately 100 of the resident cats.  This is not a zoo.  The tour is escorted and you are very close to the enclosures.  However, if you touch the enclosures, your visit will be over.  The cats are the other side of the fencing and any bits of you going through the fence are easily chomped!  You get a great close experience but you mustn’t abuse the opportunity.

wpid7229-C59F0095.jpgBeing close means the animals really do react to you.  The lions will roar if they hear Harleys revving up, keep an eye out if a tiger turns away from you because it is probably  about to spray you and, while the fences are there, they can get a little excitable.  I was squatting down taking a picture of one of the tigers when it decided to charge towards me and jump up at the fence.  It certainly got my attention!

wpid7243-C59F0177.jpgThe tour we took was led by the guy who started the whole place.  He was very friendly and keen to explain how it worked and how they kept everything running.  On our tour were a few people who have been there several times.  if we were closer, I would certainly visit frequently.  The pace was such that it was easy to take pictures as we went around so these shots will give you a good feel for what we saw there.

wpid7249-AU0E4771.jpgThe place was great.  The work they do is very important and the tales they tell of how some of the animals came to be there are quite appalling.  They are always in need of donations so, if you are looking for something to support, you could certainly do worse than these folks.  Well done for all they have done and good luck in keeping it all going.

Young Snow Leopards

As members of the Brookfield Zoo, we get regular emails telling us about changes that have taken place at the zoo.  A recent email caught our eye.  Two new Snow Leopard cubs have arrived at the zoo.  There was a YouTube video of them playing in their enclosure.  They are not related but are of similar age and have been paired.  Just like any small cat, they were full of energy and were rolling around and fighting.  Exceedingly cute!

We figured we need to get there to see them.  When Hudson the polar bear was a cub, we were a bit slow in getting to see him and he was a little large by the time we first caught him.  Still very cute but certainly a lot bigger.  It seems that Snow Leopards grow fast too!  With winter (supposedly) here, animals outside are a rarer event since a lot fo the zoo’s creatures are not suited to Chicago winters.  We also wanted a sunny day to make some photography opportunities.

We did get to the zoo and we were lucky to have a great weather day.  Both the leopards were out in their enclosure.  They are already quite large so we missed the cutest stage.  However, they are still quite playful.  They have some high locations that they like to rest on but they would still fight with each other.  I watched one sneak up on the other and the leap in the air that resulted was very funny.

Shooting them in the enclosure can be tricky.  There is a glass wall which gives great viewing but makes shooting a little tricky.  The glass is thick and the light is very shaded.  In the enclosure open spaces they are more easily shot.  However, the high rock area they like to rest on is very close to the netting that keeps them in.  When they are further in, a shallow depth of field will remove the netting from the shot but when they are close to it, there is nothing you can do.  Hence, I apologize for the net in some shots but I still think they look cool!

Halloween at the Zoo

Whether it is the weather or whether it is some subconscious thing, it appears that we get lured to the zoo at Halloween.  The weekend weather forecast looked very promising so we thought we pop out to Brookfield to see what the animals were doing.  It was only when we got there that we realized that, being Halloween weekend, everyone was there in costumes.

This triggered something from our recollection that we had done the same thing last year.  Let’s go to the zoo when everyone else is planning on being there and all dressed up!  (I will leave my thoughts on Halloween for another post I suspect.)

As it turned out, the center area of the zoo was very busy but the rest of it was no busier than most weekends.  The sun was out and the animal were active so it was a good time to go.  We got particularly lucky with a couple of things.

I have never seen the kangaroos move before.  They have always been lying down taking a nap when I have been there.  Sometimes, this is tucked up against the  wall for extra shade.  However, this time they got up and fed for a while and even hopped across the enclosure.  That was a big plus.

Next we arrived at the brown bear enclosure and the staff were seeding the place with vegetables for the bears to find and feed on.  Consequently, we got a couple of grizzlies rummaging around the enclosure for a long time.  Given their love for dozing this was a result.  I guess the polar bears had already been fed since they were out for the count.

The lions are always a stop for us.  The male was lying down and looked like he was falling asleep.  A lion roaring has a very small mouth shape which doesn’t look like much.  A lion yawning, on the other hand, has a wide mouth and lots of teeth.  A good photo opportunity!  A little patience and we were rewarded with a big view of fangs!  As an aside, lions are not empathetic creatures since we tried yawning a bunch of time to try and induce a yawn but to no effect!

Out last stop was the leopard.  Normally another one having a nap when we are there, this time he was also on the prowl.  We only had a few minutes before it was time to lie down again but even so, this was better than normal.  Not a bad day out!