Friday, 7 March 2014

Beautiful British Wildlife

I remember, as a child, visiting a zoo. There were secretive leopards, and wrinkly rhino, and towering giraffes and penguins that made us laugh. They made nice holiday photographs on my wind-on-film disposable one-use camera, if it wasn't for the wire of the enclosures. However you looked at these photos, there could never be any doubt that they were taken in a zoo despite the amount of care the keepers had taken to make the enclosures as natural and stimulating for their occupants as possible. 

I visited a different kind of 'zoo' at the weekend. I call it a zoo because technically that's really what it is, but here there were no gibbons rampaging through branches or bison grazing open pastures. Instead, charismatic red squirrels bounced through woodland and an adder bathed in warm spring sunshine. Foxes called eerie courtship barks and beneath the tramping feet of visiting school groups and families, badgers snored. This was the British Wildlife Centre. Most of the captive animals here are rescued or from breeding programs, themselves in turn contribution to education and breeding programs for the future of conservation of their species. With minimal wire and extensive naturalised enclosures, the centre is a joy for photographers (although some species take a little patience!) and for both myself and the RSPB youth group with whom I was visiting, to get up close to and have such fantastic views of the hidden beautiful wildlife of our countryside and own back yards was a real delight. 

All photos taken at British Wildlife Centre, Copyright Sophie May Lewis (SophiEco Wild) 2014

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