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Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

One of those special days

I took my friend to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park today. we saw some wonderful things. There was the dusky langur with her ginger baby:

I'd never seen bush dogs before. They made a sweet little high-pitched noise, but I'll spare you the horror story of how they co-operate to hunt prey:

The male Siberian tiger has huge paws, but instead of using them to walk on, he sticks to lying by the fence and using them as a pillow:

He managed to stir enough to give us a glimpse of his big face:

One female was displaying her amazing stripes:

The other did some rolling over and tummy-baring, then eventually showed us her lovely face:

We'd especially wanted to see the Scottish wild cats, but they didn't appear on the site map. A member of staff told us that the new park set-up meant they were off display, but she arranged for the keeper to meet up with us to go and see them. A couple of years ago the same man had taken me around the park to make up for the fact that I had missed the cats on a visit because they were not signposted, and my friends and I could not find them. He's lovely - the stories he told us were funny, amazing, I could regale you with them forever. But instead, let's see the female wild cat, Skye:

She's like a super-beautiful pussy cat. Her would-be mate, Sid, has a real wild cat look. He was in one of the overhead walkways that were built for them:

He did relax a bit after a while and let his ears return to closer to their normal position:

These pictures were taken inside the outer enclosure.

Sadly Sid is minus a toe. They moved in another female for a while to mate with him (he and skye have yet to produce young) and when she left and they were reunited, Skye bit his toe and broke it, so it had to be amputated!
We failed to see the newly arrived fossa because the keeper, Neville, couldn't persuade him out. They are odd-looking creatures, I would love to have seen one:

We also missed the new Lynx cubs. we couldn't go back to the area of the park where these two species were kept, because it is a huge and hilly site and we were exhausted. There are safari trucks and trailers which will take you to the bottom of the site, but the harder task of getting back up the huge hills, at the end of a tiring day, is left to visitors' feet. Makes no sense to me.

Anyway, here are some other lynx cubs from the internet, so as not to disappoint you:


Eliza said...

The wild cats look like slightly angry domestic cats..just bigger..and beautiful :)

JoJo said...

What a cool park and how lucky were you to get to see the cats? Those dog things are cute but yes, please don't reveal the gory hunting details! :)

vikeau said...

Eliza I was thinking the same thing--they look like really big house cats. The bush dogs look like hyenas--and I've seen wild life programs on how they hunt. Ugh. But looks like you had a great day.

mauigirl said...

Beautiful photographs Val, especially of the tiger stripes on the reclining female. The dog-things are adorable, but have a look about them that spells trouble. The little cats should be running around in Scotland, what are they doing in cages?

Tess said...

I want a Scottish wild cat!

val said...

Maui, they DO wander around in wildest Scotland, but not in great numbers, and not pure bred, 'cos they mate with people's pet moggies! There is a stud book (held at this park) and they are trying to preserve the pure breed. There's been DNA testing including antique specimens in the Natural History Museum to try and find out exactly what makes a pure wildcat a pure wildcat.

And Tess, no you don't! They start out as cute as any kittens, then suddenly they turn into really wild wildcats, so the keeper told us. Don't forget Skye destroyed big Sid's toe! That could be your finger...

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