Last of the Wilds [Woburn Safari Photo Diary]

by - October 25, 2015

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” - Anatole France

 To anybody who loves animals and yearns to be closer to them, but resents the sight of them locked up in cages, tortured in circuses, or worked to exhaustion at races and tourist attractions, I would recommend a day in Woburn Safari Park. Hidden away in the relatively quiet Bedford, it lets its furry, feathery, and scaly inhabitants roam freely in their massive enclosures, whilst the human visitors observe them from behind locked cars. There is no risk of running any animals over - all of the vehicles move at a slower-than-walking pace, and I'm fairly sure none of them really want to anger the rhinos and wolves crossing in front of them. I will say, however, that the most dangerous animals are the monkeys - they will not hesitate to climb and sit on top of your car. Be prepared to have your windshield wipers taken off!

 The only cons to the Road Safari are that yes, you do need a car (and a license if you're the one driving). But you do get to venture out of your car further on, in the Foot Safari section, and socialise with your hosts, some of which will probably be mingling with people along the walkways. Keeper talks and demonstrations are held the entire day, so you are free to enjoy as many of those as you like (literally - they come at no extra cost). I only got to see the Birds of Prey and Birds in Action ones and I was gobsmacked by how the stars of the show flew around the audience freely, before settling onto their keepers' arms of their own accord. I also had six little parrots land on top of me and tickle my ears and hands, and later on a cute lemur licked me and mi amore's hands. Overall, I'd say it was a pretty good day.

 There is a reason this post sounds so different from my other travel entries, and it is because I am truly passionate about animal welfare. Woburn Safari Park is not a zoo where animals are just exhibits in small enclosures; by visiting, you are supporting a genuine organisation, dedicated to the conservation of endangered species, some of them now extinct in the wild. It is truly unfortunate that the world has come to a point where humans have such a negative impact on wildlife, that they need to involve themselves even further, in order to repair the damage. But it a fact. From this point on, everyone must choose for themselves which side of the cage they're on.

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