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Dublin Zoo and the Snow Leopards – 04/04/14

On Friday my husband and I had a day off work, and because the weather was forecast to be reasonable we decided to visit Dublin Zoo.   I have often watched ‘The Zoo’ on TV but never actually visited, so thinking it would be quieter than the weekend it seemed the ideal opportunity.

I know a lot of people don’t agree with Zoos saying that it’s cruel to keep wild animals in smaller areas than their natural habitats; and yes if you think this way then it does feel wrong.  However consider this; a lot of the animals currently in zoos are either extinct or close to extinction in the wild because of mans hunting or damage to their environment.  Therefore a zoo is probably their only hope of survival in the future, it can offer protection and with a careful breeding program, one day may result in these animals being back in the wild where they belong.  Dublin Zoo has a great reputation for its animal breeding programme which I feel speaks for itself, surely the animals wouldn’t breed if they weren’t happy and well cared for.

I knew that I would need a long lens for zoo photography, so I dusted off my Sigma 70-300mm lens.  It’s been a long time since I’ve used this lens, and it certainly challenged me.  I bought the lens many years ago for my film camera so now using it on a digital camera with different technology, the autofocus won’t work.  So everything has to be manually focused, which is interesting when trying to photograph a moving subject.

So to start practising, choose a subject that isn’t moving…..ahhh a sleeping Snow Leopard; what better way to start than with my favourite animal.  He/she was getting 40 winks inside.  One thing I really liked about the Zoo is the huge glass panels dotted around the enclosures so that you could view the animals without bars getting in the way.  The animals also get up close to the glass and it gives the viewer a great perspective of how big some of these creatures actually are.  Although I did have one little complaint that it would be nice if they could put in glass that cuts down reflection.

Snow Leopard Sleeps Tonight

You probably think that because they were fast asleep they were probably bored; wrong, on average an adult cat spends two thirds of its day asleep.  They are most active at dawn and dusk, so given that it was late morning, this was very normal behaviour for these beautiful animals.

Lazy days

Lazy days

There was one that was curious about all the people watching her.

Watching

Watching

Snow Leopards live in Central Asia, and sadly are critically endangered in the wild due to their fur being highly sought after and a decline in their natural prey.  Hopefully with the zoos commitment to these animals, the future might look a lot brighter.  Check out this little clip of cubs being born in Dublin Zoo.

There’s more to report so don’t go far 🙂

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