Tiger Experience at Linton Zoo

I know it’s nothing to do with cross-stitch, but I’ve always loved tigers.

My husband also loves all big cats and so last Christmas, we bought ourselves a “Tiger Feeding Experience” at Linton Zoo, in Cambridgeshire, UK.

We just completed it. I’m still on a high!

We arrived at the zoo at midday, and were greeted and asked to fill out a health & safety form (including things like Next of Kin, just in case…)
We were met by John and Kim at the coffee shop, and John took us on a tour around the big cat enclosures. He was very knowledgeable about all the conservation projects that Linton Zoo is involved in, and told us lots of information about all the cats we could see.

The first one (we couldn’t get a pic unfortunately as he wasn’t being THAT co-operative) was Centurio, the snow leopard. When he heard the “clang” of John’s bucket (it had meat in) he came at a run. Within a month or so, Centurio is going to be introduced to a female snow leopard, a potential future mate. She’s being shipped from Germany.

We continued to walk around, admiring the pride of lions (2 adults, 2 cubs that are just over a year old, the male cub is just developing a mane and looking a bit fluffy – a little like our approaching-teen son), and the pair of lions in a separate enclosure (their cub is the lioness that is with the pride).

And then we met Kim. Her picture is up in various places in the coffee shop, showing how long she’s been working with the Big Cats at Linton – giving hugs to lions, tigers and the occasional cat!

The first thrill was a minor one, but still important. She unlocked and opened a gate leading to the tiger cages – the public don’t get to go through there unless on one of the experiences, so it was a first for us.

A towel had been laid on the floor in front of Katinka’s cage, and she was lying close by, obviously anticipating what came next.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking – I can’t convey the combined adrenalin/fear/amazement feeling of being this close to such a huge predator with only (what felt like) a fragile (it wasn’t!) mesh fence between us. You don’t realise how big these amazing creatures are when you see them on film, on tv, or at a distance.

Katinka is a 9 year old Tigress at Linton Zoo. She was born there and has spent all her life there. Her Dad is also in the cage next to her (although he finds her very annoying at times when they socialise), and he’s a rather splendid 18 year old male, with a touch of arthritis in his spine, although he doesn’t let it slow him down.

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And because we wandered around the zoo after the experience, we took a few more photos too 🙂

 

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Arachnophobes.. look away now.. everyone else you can scroll down for one more picture!


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4stacey

 

 

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