Sunday, 3 June 2012

Paradise Wildlife Park

On 16th May we went to Paradise Wildlife Park for Jackie's 'Big Cat' experience - her birthday present from me last year! It involved behind the scenes work, preparing tiger and lion's food, sorting out their cages and hand feeding them. Very exciting and just what Jackie likes.

We went down the night before and stayed in the Stansted Inn in Little Hallingbury. The Inn was a strange place, but really quite OK. The local pub was a treat with really nice home cooked food and good hand pulled ales. The village was quite nice with a few thatched houses and the owl sitting on the fence outside our bedroom window on the following morning was a treat. He flew off when I tried to take a picture of him though.

Straight after breakfast we went to the wildlife park, arriving at 08:30, as they requested, 1.5 hours before public opening. We met Arran, who is the grandson of the guy who bought the park in the 80's and transformed it from the worst zoo to one of the best wildlife parks in the country. They have another park in Kent, not open to the public, that is used for breeding and for working with environmental protection agencies worldwide. The park is not that big, but the areas for the animals were very good and we had a real impression of happy animals.

I was the cameraman and they allowed me behind the scenes as well, the only thing I didn't do was hand feed the animals - fine by me!

Jackie got to work preparing hunks of meat for the lion's tigers, jaguars and snow leopards.
 the off we went to feed, firstly the lions, but as it was a warm sunny day they were too interested in sunning themselves to come over for food, so we went to see the snow leopards, who were very keen to meet us:
The tigers also came over for something to eat and Jackie got a chance to stroke one:
The jaguars were made to work for their food, so she put a big chunk of meat into a box, covered it with blood and Arran hung it from a high branch in its pen, to make her work for her dinner:
She made pretty light work of it though, before retiring to the corner of her cage to consume. The most amusing part was feeding the white tigers. Jackie put a large plastic ball covered with blood into its cage, along with a box of food covered in blood. When the tiger came in he was more interested in playing with the ball and licking the blood than eating the food in the box:
We also had the opportunity and getting close to wolves and after the experience we stayed on to see Red Panda's, Lama's, parrots and many other animals. We put together a Youtube video of our visit that you can view on:

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