Scottish Wild Cats … in Kent

Port Lympne Wild Animal Park

Sid - the Scottish Wildcat at Port Lympne Zoo - Folkstone Kent

Last weekend I had an amazing day out to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park on the back of the local networking group I belong to … Counterpoint Networking in Hythe run by Jo and Simon Dodds …

I volunteered a few weeks ago when Jo mentioned they were seeking help with various projects … I also roped in a friend Hazel (Matthias) and her partner Ashley (Jell or Mr Jell as he in known in his new job at Pent Valley School, Folkestone 🙂 …).    Here is a picture of Sid one of the Scottish Wildcat residents at Port Lympne that we were privileged to meet.

The work

The scaffolding needed to build the Scottish Wildcat Walkway

We were helping to build a construction for the cats so they can venture out along a walkway, and take advantage of the marvellous view over the Romney Marshes from one of the highest points in the Park (will they notice 🙂 …).  It will also give visitors a better view of these timid creatures and educate people on their species threatened demise (only 400 left in Scotland) their natural landscape.  This picture shows the scaffolding needed to build the Scottish Wildcat Walkway.

Hazel and I worked on coating planks of wood with decking oil to help preserve the planks that will form the runway base  … but little had Hazel and I expected to get so stained with oil (nor been aware of the work we’d be doing) … next time eh! …  But as we lamented the passing of these clothes we laughed at the idea of spending another day at the Park wearing exactly the same ones  🙂

On the other hand, Ashley and Neville spent their time building a small scaffolding, to around 5′ high in order to pound posts into the ground and shape the Wildcats’s new walkway … I hope they appreciate the effort when its finished 🙂 …

Neville Buck

Neville and Ashley letting that post know who's boss!

Neville is charming and brimming with enthusiasm and knowledge about his ‘pet’ subject … I don’t think anything’s known to man about the Sottish Wildcat that Neville isn’t privy to …  This picture shows Neville and Ashley letting that post know who’s boss!

Neville is the head-keeper and main fixture having been at the Wild Life Park for 23-yrs.  He’s in charge of the Scottish Wildcats and we got to meet two of his grumpiest inmates … Sid and Skye … they are shy and reclusive (as Sid stared out at us from underneath his boulder built cave-like construction) and Skye (lying length-ways along a wooden ledge simply crawled away on her haunches to face away from us).  We were delighted to meet them but I can’t say it was reciprocated 🙂 so we headed back to work and left them to it?

Girls vs Boys

Hazel and I get organized

It certainly felt like a privilege to get ‘backstage passes’ and a deeper glimpse into how it all works,  as this world famous Wild Life Park does its substantial bit in conserving the larger animal kingdom for future generations that they too may get a sense of these beautiful and wild beasts.  Of course no-one wants to see animals of this magnitude incarcerated, but the accommodation at Port Lympne does everything it can to allow the animals as natural a habitat as possible through the various projects that act as a last resort.  And here you can see Hazel and I getting into a bit of a system at this stage … quick learners eh!

In Conclusion

All in all it was an exhilarating and totally exhausting day … I loved it 🙂 … who knows we may get invited back … And you too can give a hand, because at Port Lympne Wild Life Park their work is never done … and if you love animals and you too want to take a sneaky peak behind closed doors then you can contact Neville Buck at the Park … he’s usually around and will be more than happy to have you on-board …  One piece of advise … take your tattiest clothes 🙂 …

Female Snow Leopard at Port Lympne Zoo - Kent

And finally … At the end of the day … when I was well and truly ‘done-in’ 🙁 and headed back to the car … we caught my first glimpse of both Snow Leopards … Wonderful!

It was dusk and they … like most cats … were getting ready for their nightly foray …. which on this occasion began with a take-away dinner (special delivery and we watched as the female discovered her rabbit dinner and start feasting …

The male was perched high up on the hilltop just peering down at the folks … but she was settling down to some serious edification … and although that may not be for the squeamish I loved the opportunity of seeing some wild animal behaviour … She wasn’t too fussed about our presence (unlike the male) and just got on with the serious business of eating.   A sight to behold!  This picture of her, is just an out and about shot of her enjoying a stroll around their expansive enclosure …

Tell me more …

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Comments

  1. We’re a gaggle of volunteers and starting a brand new
    scheme in our community. Your site provided us with useful information to work
    on. You’ve performed an impressive task and our entire neighborhood might
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  2. Jane says:

    Good to hear, in what way was it beneficial?

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