Nico (vilakins) wrote,

Zion Wildlife Gardens tour #2

I spent last Saturday up in Whangarei, much of it at the Zion Wildlife Gardens. All 18 photos are in my LJ gallery here, but here are 9 of them. I intended to put these up earlier, but I only just got the time.

We had to leave before 7am which was a rush, but when I saw Tessa and Claudia posing on the dehumidifier, I had to take my first cat picture of the day. :-)

I had an hour to kill before my guided tour (just the standard one this time) so I went to the Town Basin. How could I not have a coffee at the Serenity Cafe?

One of the lionesses.

We were honoured by Craig Busch, the Lion Man himself, turning up and treating us to a ball game with Sita, a young Bengal tiger who is in fact not one of the hand-reared ones. That guy is a cat-whisperer.

Craig posed for photos with one of the tourists and Sita jumped up on her hind legs to be in the shot too.

Abu (father of the new cubs) looking up at us; it was intriguing that whenever anyone mentioned Craig's name, the lions and tigers would all look over at us. All the royal whites have pale blue eyes like Abu.

There are three 4-week-old white tiger cubs which weren't part of the tour, but I could hear them squealing in the cub house. I could only see them by shading my eyes up against the glass, and the pictures I took through it weren't very good as the flash washed back. But they were the size of cats and toddling around adorably. They'll be available for encounters in about a month.

Zion is the template for the CGI Aslan in 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' and the tamest lion in the world, they say. Our guide is certain that Craig brushes his mane, it's so soft.

These are the orange cubs, Indra and Kahli, we saw last time, now 11 months old and looking almost adult, though they're still bottle-fed to keep them gentle. They're still very playful though and had fun wrestling each other.

Tags: cats, photos, zion wildlife gardens
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