Learn about the Wildlife Heritage Foundation and the photographic day
Tags:Photographing Wildlife,photographing lions,photography tips,photographytv,photographytv.tv,wildlife heritage foundation
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Sian: The Wildlife Heritage Foundation Can is a conservation trust that looks after a wide range of rare and endangered cats. With the aim of hopefully reintroducing them back to their natural habitat. That is of course if there’s any of it left. One particular cat is the Russian immure leopard, which are thought to only have 30 individuals left in the wild. And of that, only 6 females, which obviously makes it really hard to breed. Now this is truly magical cats and along with the snow leopards, Sumatran tigers, and lions are just of the favorite beast here. Today we’re following a group of photographers on a big cat day experience, led by photographyTV’s Peter Davy. Peter: While carefully watching the cats, then actually don’t knob on your fingers, so you just pop your finger there, just on the, just on the, just on the wire, you can rest your lens on it, okay. That would give you like a reference point, things like that. Sian: But first let’s join Peter and the rest of the group as they meet up with the keepers and get introduced to the big cats. Male1: Okay, some of things to you should be aware off, is this one here, and you see solid steel. And this is actually one of the poke, or one side of poke on the door for Simeas enclosure. These ones here are teeth marks and those ones there are claw marks. That’s what they’re capable of doing. Okay, so obviously if you’re flashes like compared to that, it would go through you very, very quickly. That was a barrel which was full of water, which probably take more than two blokes try to lift up, Nyas, he’s the smallest sub species of tiger, he had that in his mouth for about ten minutes, so self explanatory. That’s how close you are going to be getting as Peter already said to the cats, so it’s gonna be that between you and that’s it, okay. It is strong enough for doing it, they can jump over it, and they will not come through at you, so you can stay on the shots, and as long as you’re not worried about getting a black eye if the cat bounces on it, coz it does obviously gives. You know, you’re here on a photographic day. Enjoy the day, that’s the main thing. That’s all we want you to do, enjoy the day and take great shots. Sian: Now the guy who’s allowed us to be here today is Mark Egelie, who’s the CEO of WHF, and luckily I had a chance to have a chat with him before the rain starts. Mark: Well Wildlife Heritage Foundation was formed to support big cats both in the wild and in captivity and this part of our operation is the breeding center, and we intended, one day to be breeding center of excellence for number of European species. See, the zoo industries in Europe has about 300, 320 different breeding programs. One, several of which for big cats and it’s obviously the big cat ones that we deal with here. Sian: So how does this place come about? Mark: Well the center was here, it’s been here for since back 1990. It was built by local farmer originally to house three rescue lions, that was the original purpose. Sian: Yeah. Mark: And then one other two charities came along and asked him whether they could build enclosures in his field for rescue animals they had. In those days, they will still, there were rescue organization around taking lions off beaches all across Europe. Some of is now illegal and it doesn’t in fact happen within the EU. But there was a need to home these animals, and they were homed here. That need dropped off. The farmer decided he wanted to sell the land, so the owners of paradise wildlife park in Bronxborn, in Haperture, they bought the site as a sort of over spill for their zoological collection. And also an opportunity for them to get more into cat breeding, their main public site is not just big enough. Sian: So is this place get a lot of big funding or? Mark: No, it doesn’t. We own an awful a lot of our money from photographic days sort of things that’s going on today. We ran encounters, couple of encounter companies, and we sell our own encounters, now we offer it on website. And that’s where the bulk of the money comes from. We obviously get things like public donations, we’re registered charity so people can give date, sign of give date decorations, so we can get tax back that way. But we don’t get any public support as such. Sian: I mean this place obviously a great opportunity for photography, so how did you decide to get photographers in here and do those have days out? Mark: Well one of our founder trustees, a guy called Pete James had its own, Pete sadly died earlier this year, but he had his own center and he funded that, with photographic days, so he came down here, ran a few days, thought us a few tricks and we took it from there. In the early days I think the first year, we did about 12, and now we do about 70 all the year. Sian: Woh, and they’re obviously a big success right there. Mark: They are. Sian: Yeah. Mark: I mean, we get in to the stage now where, we’re turning people away. Sian: Really. Mark: Particularly commercial photographers. We’re rationing the number of slots that they can have. We worked very hard to keep the cats cool and calm. Sian: Yeah. I heard that you keep lavender on one of the pens. Mark: We are planting lavender around lot of the pens, yeah, the cats seems to like it. And we’ve used aroma therapy with some of the cats as well. Peter: Right okay, so what we’re gonna do, we’re aiming for the lioness over there, what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna come down to her level. Get a nice, a nice low shooting position. I recommend average clarity for this, around F4, should be giving us some light somewhere around 800th of a second and she’s good. You got to preset white balance which is good, you also shooting raw, which gives you that little bit of an insurance policy as well. So let’s get the cameras up to the wire. Make sure we’re shooting through the wire and let’s give it a go. Sian: Some useful pointers there from Peter, the cats and the keepers did their bit too to provide the group with a fantastic photo opportunity and with some great results.