Sunday, March 23, 2008
More from Cotswold Wildlife Park
I had finished my MBA project a few weekends ago so I decided to actually get outside and taste the fresh air once more. The fresh air I headed for was in the Cotswolds, which are not too far away, and specifically my love of animals drew me to the Cotswold Wildlife Park which I have already posted about *here* and *here*. It is a fantastic open place set in parkland and the grounds of an old Victorian mansion which you can see in the first photo. It's not often you see a rhino grazing on the lawn in front of an old English house and it looks quite incongruous but the rhino and it's zebra friends seemed content enough
The rhino and zebra are two of the animals that you see when you first enter the park. They have a huge enclosure to roam in and nearby the camel have another paddock and on the other side the ostrich jealously guard their paddock from human interlopers. At the top end of the rhino and zebra enclosure though is where the big cats live. I am used to big cats being shy. They often spend their time in a quiet corner in the sun away from prying eyes or in the comfort of their pen on more chilly days. On this visit however I walked up to the large glass window in the wall of the pen and was rewarded with the sight in the photo below.
The leopard emerged from the bushes as if on cue and walked past on a few feet away from me. I was very happy that a large piece of glass separated us but at the same time I was in awe of being so close to such a beautiful and magnificent animal; it was all I could do to gather my camera, point and shoot so I was very pleased when I saw I had got the shot!
The leopard did a couple of circuits of his territory while the crowd that had gathered 'ooed' and 'ah-ed'. Content that all was well in his world he decided to make the most of the weak early spring sun and climbed a tree to take up station on a wooden platform to sunbathe. Next door was where the lions lived. I had heard the male roaring when I reached the park entrance, a deep guttural roar which pronounced his place as king of all he surveyed. When I got to the lion pen the male was nowhere to be seen but one of the females had visited the pool for a drink, a mere few yards from the glass viewing window. Once her thirst was slaked she simply sat and took in the view and I took the opportunity to snap her portrait.
After a while I left the throng that had gathered to watch her sitting and watching nothing in particular and braved the path past the ostriches and made my way towards the farm animals. I will post about these soon :)