My partner, Mike, is well aware of my passion for wildlife and conservation. I’m constantly watching nature documentaries and reading related books whilst being on the look out for conservation volunteering opportunities abroad and new animals to adopt. Knowing all this, I guess it’s no surprise that my Christmas present last year was animal themed. Mike gave me a voucher which enabled me to visit The Big Cat Wildlife Sanctuary in Kent. I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait. Not many people are even aware that this wildlife centre exists, but this is probably because it’s not open to the public. You can only visit it through certain tours. Mike booked me a tour of the cats, along with a talk from Giles Clark and afternoon tea experience.
We arrived, as advised, no more than 10 minutes before the experience was due to start. I was immediately impressed with the wooden lodges. It really did remind me of being in Africa. We signed in and sat down ready for our talk from the BBC’s Giles Clark. He’s led a fascinating and admirable life. How I would love to be so actively involved in animal conservation! He informed us of the breeding programmes set up at the Sanctuary and of the animals that were rescued from circus’ and other such places.
The Big Cat Sanctuary is home to over 50 big and small cats and has the most diverse collection in the UK. Their primary aim is to breed some of the worlds most endangered species as well as provide a home for retired and homeless cats. The Big Cat Sanctuary supports many other wildlife charities around the world. It is currently trying to raise money to buy two collars for animals in the wild which cost around £6,000 each!
After the talk I thanked Giles Clark and we headed for a tour of the big cats. I loved seeing them even though it’s a shame there some animals are behind cages. However, I see how necessary it is in order to protect and breed certain species and I admire the work that the Big Cat Sanctuary do. On our tour we saw lions, tigers, caracals, serval cats, snow leopards, pumas, jaguars, fishing cats, lynx, Pallas cats, white tigers and lions, leopards, jungle cats and my favourite: cheetahs.
After the tour we sat down to enjoy an afternoon tea before exploring the gift shop and saying goodbye to all the big cats. I was so inspired by my day at The Big Cat Sanctuary that I have now adopted a cheetah there. I very much look forward to attending an adopters lunch and visiting the big cats again.