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 :)

17 comments:

R. Sherman said...

Big cats are a wonder to observe. It's nice the animals seem to have a bit of room to roam about, as opposed to being caged up.

Cheers.

Shephard said...

You're right. I have never seen a Rhino in front of an old English manor house. What a great contrast, so out of place, and yet so similar in color/tone. Great photo. And I love the leopard. :) When I get to the Cotswalds, I will definitely consider this worth a look.
~S

kenju said...

I haven't been to a zoo in so long! That one looks great; especially like the manor house!

Sarch said...

What a great post. Are those animals not absolutely beautiful? Is there anything more majestic than the big cats?

Thanks for sharing BK.

Melody said...

Oh gorgeous! Great shots...

I love just sitting there and observing animals, especially ones you have posted about...

Anna said...

I love those wildlife pics! :)

David said...

sounds like a good time.
bring on those farm critters. My favorite are baby lambs and baby chicks.

Mar said...

What beautiful shots, Bob-kat!! I haven't been to a zoo in ages...
All I saw during my last vacation was a couple of birds (eating bread crumbs I left out in the balcony for them) and a cat who didn't want to pose for me...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh B-K, these are just fantastic! The Leopard pictures are incredible and that dear Lion too....
I LOVE that these animals have such a wonderful place to roam and seeing the Rhino in front of the house...THAT is Priceless...And the Zebra, too. This Park is really so wonderful....As I said before, I wish we had known about it when I was there for that most memorable trip all those years ago...!
Thanks my dear for this deightful visit with "The Cats"....Isn't it amazing how our little Felines are not all that different in much of their behavior?

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

My local zoo is in one of the neighborhoods that flank the city. You can hear the male lion huffing for miles. It's really quite cool.

craziequeen said...

ooh, sexy Leo-Pard.... :-)

I love big cats - just like our lifetime companions....but bigger!

I am dying to see the photos from Caerphilly - particularly any of the market as a whole...

:-)

cq

Smiler said...

These are very nice photos. I wish my hosts had taken me there when I was staying in that area last time. I suppose there wasn't enough time for everything, though we did visit a castle where they apparently kept all sorts of wild animals in the 19th century. I forget the name of it now.

Those big cats are quite thrilling aren't they? I'll be posting big cats soon too, also taken behind that glass partition. So cool to be so very near them and yet completely safe.

The rhino in front of the manor is great.

utenzi said...

The rhino did look very out of place in front of that house. The leopard was quite impressive looking. What a beautiful animal.

Niall said...

there are some really good photos here..you have a very good eye for framing a picture! Congratulations on finishing your MBA...I know you've worked really hard to achieve it and you should be proud of what you've done. I'm sorry to here about your battles with 'Alpha-male'...sadly they are still a feature of business but you sound as if you're the one with the balls! eheh.

Take care

pink dogwood said...

great pictures !!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Bob-Kat...Betty G. was here yesterday and the BEAUTIFUL Book you out together was sitting on the table. She looked at it and was soooo impressed! I told her that you did this for me and she was just so taken with it---She said, I should get a whole lot of them and sell them...!!
Well, I think it is quite a grand idea!
Maybe we could do this together....You make them up and I will pay for them and we will share the "proceeds"....! (You must give yourself the proper credit on this, you know...)
Anyway...she just absolutely LOVED it and was duly impressed with the photigraphs and how artfully you had put it ALL together....Other people looked at it too and all of them were incredibly impressed...No one could believe I had not "met" you in person...!
It was really WONDERFUL! I wanted to share this with you....You can post this or not, my dear....It's up to you.

rashbre said...

The top picture is somewhat surreal. The big cats look great, especially those leopard shots.