Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Details and discussion for any up-coming outings, exhibitions, or general photographic events.
Steve B
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Joined: Thu 08 Dec 2016, 17:20

Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby Steve B » Tue 13 Mar 2018, 13:23

The Big Cat Sanctuary is a sanctuary specialising in the conservation of big cats located in Smarden, Kent. It holds in excess of 50 cats including African lions, White lions, Amur leopards, North Chinese leopards, Snow leopards, Amur tigers, Sumatran tigers, Cheetah, Lynx, Fishing cats, Jaguars, Pallas cats, Pumas, Rusty Spotted cats, Jungle cats and Servals. It is normally closed to the public, but has four open days annually - this year on 26, 27, 28, 29 July. The sanctuary also runs (expensive) photography days.

Numbers for the public open days are limited on a first come first served basis and can be booked here http://thebigcatsanctuary.org/events/. The cost is £20.

I have booked my place for Saturday 28 July and would welcome companions! I have never been and so cannot attest to photography conditions on the day.

If you rely on public transport bear in mind it is a 2 mile walk from Headcorn station (or infrequent bus plus 1 mile walk).

Steve
Sarahrs
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Joined: Tue 27 Sep 2016, 21:05

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby Sarahrs » Tue 13 Mar 2018, 16:07

Ohh! Sounds interesting. Will let you know when I book a ticket.
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davidb
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Location: Croydon, Surrey, UK

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby davidb » Tue 13 Mar 2018, 17:10

I have my eticket for 28th July.

Looking at National Rail Enquiries - although it's not yet possible to pre-order tickets for July -
The nearest station would appear to be Headcorn
East Croydon to Headcorn costs £26.70 (or £17.65 with a Railcard)

Departing EC at 09:21, arriving Headcorn 10:44 (but may be subject to change either to the timetable or engineering).
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David A Beard.
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davidb
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Location: Croydon, Surrey, UK

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby davidb » Tue 01 May 2018, 08:48

Within the last two month The Big Cat Sanctuary has lost two of it's Clouded Leopard and one Sumatran Tiger.

Ben, the Clouded Leopard, passed away in March while his mate, Mandalay, seems to have died of a broken heart in April. Lumpur (aka Lumpy), the Sumatran Tiger, also died in April.

At this rate there'll be nothing to visit in July!

It looks like Steve B and myself are confirmed visitors with Sarah S a possible. Anyone else interested?
Regards

David A Beard.
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davidb
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Location: Croydon, Surrey, UK

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby davidb » Fri 20 Jul 2018, 11:45

I've just checked with National Rail Enquiries:

Train times starting from East Croydon (platform 2) at 08:51 (and every 30mins thereafter) arriving at Headcorn (platform 2) at 10:14 (and every 30mins thereafter) with a change at London Bridge (platform 7).

The cost (EC to Headcorn) is £26.70 unless you have a railcard then £17.65.

I don't know how many are going but will we meet at East Croydon for the 08:51 or a later train? Bear in mind that there's a long walk at the other end!
Regards

David A Beard.
Steve B
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Joined: Thu 08 Dec 2016, 17:20

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby Steve B » Sun 22 Jul 2018, 12:01

David

The 0851 works for me. The train from London will go through Bromley South but for me at least it is just as quick to go into London and out again. Gates open at 11am and I would rather be there early as it will quickly be rammed.

In case anyone is coming to this thread late and wants to come, unfortunately it is a ticketed event which was sold out months ago.

Steve
Sarahrs
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Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby Sarahrs » Mon 23 Jul 2018, 09:16

How was the big cat event?
Steve B
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Joined: Thu 08 Dec 2016, 17:20

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby Steve B » Sat 28 Jul 2018, 21:48

It was today, and I had a very enjoyable time. I went for the experience as much as to take photographs and that probably helped. They have the largest collection of big cats in the UK and the talks were informative. It was fairly crowded but not as bad as I expected - there were bouncy castles etc off to one side to amuse the kids. Photographically, some pens were better than others - one layer of fencing or glass viewpoints instead of two layers and/or bars - although I imagine fencing will start to appear in some of my shots once I process them. There were one-hour tasters of their photo workshops available. Although I didn't try, I got to see what was involved. Essentially you get to go inside the inner perimeter fence under the watchful eye of a warden who throws in food to get the cats into suitable spots. I was convinced that I would be able to get clear shots this way and with careful composition manage to avoid including the back fencing as well. No tripods or monopods are allowed for safety reasons, but my 70-200mm lens sufficed most of the time in any event.

If anyone is interested in a workshop I have a discount code valid for bookings made until the end of August which gets 20% of the normal price of £189 for a six-person workshop or £250 for a four person workshop. The site is closed to the public apart from open days and corporate events so while pricey it is fairly exclusive. I'm almost tempting myself by writing this...

A warning that it is a 2.2m trek from Headcorn station on a country road with no pavement, so not suitable for everyone if you don't drive.
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davidb
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Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby davidb » Mon 30 Jul 2018, 16:14

Some of the images from my visit to the Big Cat Sanctuary -
Attachments
20180728 7D2 0056 African Lion 'Panthera leo leo'.jpg
20180728 7D2 0056 African Lion 'Panthera leo leo'.jpg (212.69 KiB) Viewed 111 times
20180728 7D2 0032 White Lion 'Panthera leo leo'.jpg
20180728 7D2 0032 White Lion 'Panthera leo leo'.jpg (227.19 KiB) Viewed 111 times
20180728 7D2 0044 White Lion 'Panthera leo leo'.jpg
20180728 7D2 0044 White Lion 'Panthera leo leo'.jpg (221.6 KiB) Viewed 111 times
Regards

David A Beard.
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davidb
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Joined: Thu 14 Nov 2013, 13:45
Location: Croydon, Surrey, UK

Re: Big Cat Sanctuary Open Days

Postby davidb » Mon 30 Jul 2018, 16:22

You can image that these cats have to be housed in sturdy enclosures so getting decent pictures through the bars is a difficult proposition. These two images from the same "negative" will show the amount ow work taken to free the animals!
Attachments
20180728 7D2 0018R Southern Cheetah 'Acinonyx jubatus jubatus' FRM.jpg
20180728 7D2 0018R Southern Cheetah 'Acinonyx jubatus jubatus' FRM.jpg (172.98 KiB) Viewed 111 times
20180728 7D2 0018 Southern Cheetah 'Acinonyx jubatus jubatus' FRM.jpg
20180728 7D2 0018 Southern Cheetah 'Acinonyx jubatus jubatus' FRM.jpg (457.58 KiB) Viewed 111 times
Last edited by davidb on Mon 30 Jul 2018, 16:31, edited 1 time in total.
Regards

David A Beard.

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