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Old Jan 31, 2010, 2:14 PM   #1
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Default Wildlife Special (LOTS of photos)

Well, I went on a photo safari on Saturday - was at the Highland Wildlife Centre near Aviemore in Scotland. Its basically a zoo but with large enclosures for the animals so they can lead a more normal life style. Not once did I feel sorry for any of the animals kept here, infact I think they probably have a better life here than in the wild, no worries on finding food here. =)

Anyway we got taken around and allowed closer to the animals than the general public was. We were close enough that we could easily have lost apendages had we an urge too =)

Ok to break this up abit will post the animals by type starting with the most impressive (in my opinion anyway) The TIGERS!!

This is the Mother Tiger.




This next one is the Dad! (he got grumpy when the kids tried to steal his food)


Now some of the cubs of which there were three in total. (aprox 6 months old)










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Old Jan 31, 2010, 2:21 PM   #2
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Default The Polar Bear

Ok next up is the Polar Bear. Her name is Mercedes, she was rescued from Canada after she strayed into a town several times and was going to be destroyed but instead she came to Scotland and stayed in Edinburgh zoo for many years before moving here to give her a larger enclosure. She is old for a polar bear, but the keepers are hopeful she will live for 4 or 5 more years as she is still in good health.

She is also deaf and well fed, she actually catches rabits that stray into her enclosure regularily on top of what she fed so tends to sleep a lot so only have 2 pictures of her that are not very much the same. Both have been edited slightly to make them look less like Scotland and more like northern canada (removal of tree branches etc)



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Old Jan 31, 2010, 2:33 PM   #3
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Default The Snow Monkeys

These are the same snow monkeys that have taken a liking to the hot spring baths in Japan after seeing humans in them. Sadly there is no hot spring for them here but they do have a pond that they swim in during the sumer months.

On the island in the pond they grow herbs for the monkeys which they use are a form of medicine in the wild. These monkeys also use the herbs, though these are lucky and if the herbs dont do the trick they have vets to fix them up =)

Some of the monkeys have escaped in the past though they have never gone to far and the fence keeping them in was redesigned and electified in places as they are very good climbers. The enclosure apart from a pond has a good number of trees for them to play in. Sadly my skills let me down and my focus was slightly off on the ones playing in the trees maybe next time I visit the park will get a good shot of them.

Anyway here they are







Its BABY monkey!!






This one's face was unsually pale and had apaprently changed overnight. The keepers didn't know why but she still appeared to be in good health and happily taking part in monkey comunity life
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Old Jan 31, 2010, 2:37 PM   #4
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Default Red Panda's

The red panda's are a very sleepy animal and tend to move slowly and with purpose. This female red panda when food was thrown in after some careful consideration descided to wake up and let me get afew photos. I was running short on memory card space by this time and was rationing my shots and sadly camera shake/ and bad exposures ment didn't get as many of these very cute creatures as i would have liked but at least these 2 shots turned out well.



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Old Jan 31, 2010, 2:42 PM   #5
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Default Bison

The Bison were huge!! These animals were very impressive and have a large enclosure which they share with some rare ponies that I didn't get a photo of and a herd of red deer.







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Old Jan 31, 2010, 2:52 PM   #6
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Default Mountain Goats

The mountain Goats were in a paddock which had a rock face. These animals typically live in the mountains and can scale some incredibul terrain. Being light and agile and able to move confidently on the cliff faces gives them a good chance at getting away from the big cats such as the Amur leopard which hunt them in the wild. And while the park will soon have some of the critically endangered Amur leopards they wont be going into the same paddock as the goats











Now these next photo's are not the same mountain goats as the previous ones and I cant honestly remember what they were called but they are goat like so will include them with the goats



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Old Jan 31, 2010, 3:01 PM   #7
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Default Afew Others

Last batch is a random collection including; Red Deer Stags, a Red Squirrel, an Artic Fox and an Eagle Owl (I think).

The deer were shot from a vehiel out the widow so sadly was hand-holding the lens, but they turned out not to bad.




The Artic Fox


The Eagle Owl


The Red Squirrel - Sadly didn't stay around for me to take more shots so this was the best I got of him


All the photos were taken with my Pentax K-7 and my Sigma 150-500mm lens
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Old Jan 31, 2010, 4:23 PM   #8
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Great pictures...I like the monkey's particularly, you caught some interesting expressions on their faces. The Tigers are stunning in their beauty.

Polar Bear is interesting. I have a feeling he/she is from my home province of Manitoba at the town of Churchill, by the Hudson's Bay up north. They have a Polar Bear jail for errant Polar Bears...catch then when they come into town, put them in the 'jail' helicopter them out to isolated areas.

The Inuit (Eskimos) native to this area have indicated that the Polar Bear population up there has increased since the '50's/'60's.

I like the idea of large enclosures in that zoo...your backgrounds looked very natural....lot's of room I'm assuming for the animals to roam.
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Old Jan 31, 2010, 8:27 PM   #9
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Oh man, am I jealous or what! would love to go on a trip like that.
you did well with those shots!
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Old Jan 31, 2010, 8:39 PM   #10
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Great photos. A grand opportunity taken fine advantage of. Well done!
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