Sunday, 15 August 2010

Nordens Ark

I think that the highlight of the summer for me was a trip I made, on my own, to an animal park called Nordens Ark. They have a lot of animals both domestic and foreign to Sweden, and their aim is to care for endangered species of animals, to eventually set the free in nature again. Because of this they don't breed animals to be held in captivity, but instead they try to replicate the animals natural habitats, train them to catch their own food and so on, so they are able to cope on their own.

I learned from one of the caretakers at the park that it has been forbidden by law to feed animals in captivity live prey - which of course is how it is in nature. Instead, the caretakers now really try to replicate the conditions without using "live food" for large animals, such as leopards and tigers. They hide food, making the animals dig or tear at things in order to get their food - I found that quite fascinating.

The park is situated not long from the Swedish West Coast and the nature in and surrounding the park is fantastic. I know I kept thinking that I could have spent a day walking there even if there were no animals around, because the nature is so beautiful!

I support Nordens Ark regularly, and have done so for a number of years now, and every other year or so, I get a free entry ticket to the park as a thank you. I had gotten one this year, and it wasn't really convenient for anybody else to go with me - but I didn't mind at all. While it is great to share experiences with others, I am very used to doing things on my own, and I truly enjoy the fact that I can do EXACTLY what I want, without discussing it or thinking about anybody else (I don't think I'm really that egoistic, but still, I do enjoy that kind of freedom).
And this time, I really did enjoy being on my own - I don't always to that!
I got a bit lost on the way there, but since it was just me, I didn't mind.
I took it easy and walked around the entire park, it's quite big and the height difference within the park is quite large. I'm not in that great a condition, so it was nice being able to take it slow and rest often - and it also made me experience the animals in another way.

After having gone through the park once, I was quite happy, as I had seen two tigers up close, one of them kept walking just in front of me, just two fences between us - first time I've seen a tiger that close, so it was quite an experience!!
I had, however, not seen the wolves, nor the snow leopards (they had babies in May!!) and that felt a bit disappointing! They were going to feed the wolves later in the afternoon, and I decided to stay for that, so I took another walk around the park.
This time I got to see the snow leopards - talk about SO CUTE babies!! Unfortunately they were kept in a habitat a fair bit from all the visitors, as they are so young still, but I at least got to see them. The caretakers fed the Mum and Dad while I was there (tied the food in lots and lots of thick rope up a tree, where the animals had to try and get it!), so I got a good look at the adult animals, truly beautiful!!
The wolves were shy though, and didn't come out for their feeding, but when I went around their habitat, I saw a couple of them, even though they were a fair bit away.

I had my "new" (Christmas gift, but not that frequently used) camera lens, which was FANTASTIC, as I managed to get some really cool photos, even though the animals were quite a distance away!!

Here are a few of my favourite photos:


The Darkest Night said...

Oh I've wanted to go to Nordens Ark for ages! I hope someday I can go....
again - love the photos!

Jessica said...

I REALLY hope you can go there, it's such an amazing place!! It's a bit of a hike once you're there, but it's SO beautiful, and if you plan it carefully there are lots of activities with the caretakers, where they feed and tell you lots of stuff about the various animals!

And I'm glad you like the photos! :D

The Darkest Night said...

sounds great! I hope I can go there someday!

Jessica said...

*fingers crossed for you*