For me, there’s something very magical and special about zoos early in the morning, before the hussle and bussel of the day begins and the public turns up. I’m standing outside Dartmoor zoos Jaguar cafe and the numerous inhabitants within the zoo are making their presence know with various howl, growls and meows. With the prolific tree cover, hilly terrain, warm morning sun and the calls of peacocks echoing around the Zoo it’s very easy to convince yourself that you are no longer in the UK but the warmer climes of India. It’s been a good while since I was last in India, it’s a country high up on my list of places to revisit, and it’s something I should do soon before the indigenous wild tigers become extinct. Great effort is being made to monitor tiger numbers in numerous reserves and efforts are paying dividends with sightings of these beautiful big cats occurring in locations where they were thought to be extinct.
I drove back home along various motorways, tired but happy, pleased that the course attendees seemed to have had an enjoyable day, even the 3 hour journey home along the sodium lit motorways seemed to pass quicker due in part to a radio version of Shakespeare’s 12th Night keeping me entertained as mile after mile melted away. I will admit some of the more subtle parts of the play may have gone right over my head distractions such as driving and avoiding other cars taking up some of my brain’s processing power.
Whilst rain did stop play throughout the day, it only slightly deterred us from venturing out amongst the animals though anticipating this I decided to spread out my teaching to such times as we might be confined to barracks and it all seemed to work as if it had been planned out! We were able to photograph bears, capybara, rhea, various pheasants, vervet monkeys but the highlights of any course at Dartmoor are always, for me anyway, the big cats. Whilst Sita, the Cheetah, was acting even more prima donnerish than normal, Sovereign deigned us with his present in exchange for a few tasty morsels and at one point we even had Solomon, the large and impressive male African Lion warning us we might be getting too close for his liking.. and when such a powerful beasts shows you the sign.. you take note.
There are more tails to recount from the day but I will save those for another day before this blog become another marathon to endure! Adieu, Dear Reader, until tomorrow.
*From the comic book, Wolverine, Volume 1, issue 1.