A few weeks ago I had another chance to experience big cats up close and personal but unlike before, this time my Nikon was in tow. The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is home to 230 big cats who have been rescued from unsuitable living conditions or those who have been abandoned by owners unable to care for them. It is a sad truth there are many people out there who do not think through the consequences of obtaining a lion or tiger as a house pet. Many of these beautiful animals were living in such small spaces they were unable to turn around!
With it’s close proximity to Indianapolis, an hour west of the city, the drive to the EFRC is worth what awaits you. The experience of touring this facility and being so close to such magnificent creatures is beyond words. You are close enough to be sprayed if your are not paying attention. It is best to remain alert at all times while on the grounds. The experience involves all of your senses, except touch of course. This is not a petting zoo Upon arrival the scent of big cats and lunch (various animal parts) bombards your sense of smell. The sound of several lions all roaring at once entices your sense of hearing. It is amazing to hear the power behind each roar. Wow! Then of course the feeling of walking by an enclosure with a full grown adult tiger less than 5 feet away is beyond amazing and a bit intimidating (ok a lot intimidating). I was happy to have my camera along although at times I could not get in close enough to remove the fence from my photo. Then again had I been any closer my lens may have been a new toy for the big cats, so I’ll take what I got.
If you live in the area and you have not been to the EFRC, I highly recommend going. The admission price is $10 per person and all of that goes directly toward the care of all of the big cats that call this place home.
Check out their website for more information: http://www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org/home.html
This beautiful lioness was far enough away and enjoying a peaceful nap allowing me to get in closer with my zoom lens to capture her slumber (or her partial I’m awake what do you want face)
We were at the right place right time for this photo and the one below. It was feeding time at a section of 4 different enclosures. The cats were ready for dinner and pacing. As you can see from both photos this was as close as I dared to be and was allowed.
I can still hear this lion’s roar. It gave me good chills. How amazing to hear so many of them at once.
Our good friend Dan Fargo taking a picture while this lioness eats. This photo is a great perspective on just how close you get. Not pictured is another enclosure directly behind him housing white tigers.
Feeding time and this tiger wants it now. Most of the food comes from local farmers who donate animals who have died or in some cases deer that have been hit on the road. Volunteers feed and care for the animals.
This beautiful and powerful cougar looks like she wanted her picture taken
The second half of the tour looked like a typical American household after Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the cats were in nap mode. In this case I was able to get in close with my zoom and capture this tiger deep in sleep.
Check out the paw on this tiger, named Felix! Felix was brought here because his owner said he was too aggressive. Our tour guide explained that the opposite was true in this case. Felix was a big lover and has shown no aggression toward anyone at the EFRC. His living conditions probably lead to his aggressive behavior towards his owner. I was unable to get a great shot of him to share on here so you will have to settle for just his paw
Another napping tiger and a different perspective on the big paws they have.
The backside of a leapord. I wasn’t about to disturb so I went with the shot available.
Hoping everyone has had a wonderful Holiday season and here’s to the new adventures that await us in 2013. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!
~”The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi ~