During the last bank holiday of the year in 2013 we thought I thought it would be good to do something a little bit different and growing up, round about Cambridge and I had heard of Shepreth so thought it was worth a visit.
Shepreth Wildlife Park started as a private sanctuary in 1979 as a refuge for rescued foxes, hedgehogs and badgers, along with many different species of unlicensed exotics. It seems to have grown from this into a fairly sizeable park with some amazing animals.
As always I imagine for most of us the space that these animals are given in wildlife parks can be of concern but at Shepreth, whilst small does give the animals as much space as they possible can and the animals themselves look really well looked after.
We spent probably 3 hours in the park and could have stayed longer. We paid the extra to go into the lizards and insects enclosures. Lizards and snakes dont both me much but dear lord some of the creepy crawlies in that place were, for want of a better word, creepy. Had me in a good sweat!
First photograph of a couple of lizards chilling out, one on top of the other. Really liked the colours and sharpness in this one (taken with the Panasonic 45mm f2.8).
Then, this happened… we may have stumbled upon two tortoises having some fun in the sun. I frankly couldn’t not take a picture at this point. The lady in this relationship seemed somewhat disinterested and basically kept walking away and chewing on the grass as this little fella followed her round. Was all mildy entertaining/fascinating. 🙂
They have a beautiful snowy owl that looked impressively threatening. Was interesting to see that it almost looked like there was no difference between its head and body. It turned it’s head in a similar way to the way a turret would turn on top of a tank. Impressive, and intimidating bird!
Whilst mallards may not be the most interesting photographic subject, I quite liked the effect I achieved in this picture as one swims across the lake.
Then they had a couple of otters that were quite the little characters and were incredibly active. They spent a lot of time chewing on some clam shells. Made short work of them. But then the neighbouring wolf was getting fed by the keeper and they suddenly perked up and stood up on their hind legs and started, for want of a better word, barking to get some food.
Then one of the highlights was the two Bengal Tigers, this one having a lie down in its enclosure. Absolutely beautiful animals and always a little sad to see them not in their natural habitat but seen as us dirty humans seem intent on killing them off, its probably one of the safer places for them. Was quite a challenge to get any good pics as both were asleep in different parts of their enclosure and the fencing made things a bit difficult.
The following picture is one of their large Igauna’s. Always find the colours of these things intriguing and he was pretty beautiful.
Then probably the surprising highlight for me was the Lynx. They are absolutely beautiful animals. Would happily have taken one home, had I not been fully aware it would rip my face off… Interesting to watch their behaviour, very majestic and funny to see just how similar their movement is to a standard cat, just scaled up!
As always, these were all taken with my Olympus OM-D EM5 with either the Panasonic Leica 45mm f2.8 or the Pansonic 100-300mm f4.0-5.6. One thing I am finding more and more is at the long end the 100-300mm is a bit soft for my liking and I keep forgetting about it until I get the pics home and at 100% they are nowhere near as sharp as at the 100mm end. So I need to get better at remembering that! As always the OM-D EM5 performed remarkably well and the 45mm 2.8 worked really nicely with the lizards and insects but I did have to crank the iso up to 3200/6400. But the results were entirely acceptable.
But to sum up, would recommend a trip to Shepreth Wildlife Park, it was a really great afternoon and didnt cost too much at £10.95 per adult. So if you have an afternoon free, give it a go!