So, this is something entirely different for this blog, with no horses in sight, but it was an incredible opportunity that my family and I were given and something that I felt really deserved some page space and recognition, so I decided to tell you guys all about it. And it’s animal related, so we aren’t veering too far off topic.

Yesterday we were lucky enough to visit The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden, Kent, as they are discussing the possibility of appointing my brother as one of their patrons. So they were super kind and allowed us into their sanctuary, looked after us and showed us around, teaching us about what it is that they do there.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

I felt like we learned so much from the very lovely and very knowledgable Tanith, who spent the day showing us around, that I can’t possibly relay it all in this blog. But I’ll try and give you a short insight.

Their primary mission, at The Big Cat Sanctuary, is to assist in the conservation of the world’s endangered big cats, preserve breeding integrity and to assist the return of big cats to the wild wherever possible.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

They are passionate about the protection of endangered species and dedicated to the captive breeding of endangered big cats within the European Endangered Species Programmes (EEP) with the eventual aim of providing animals for scientifically based re-introduction projects.

I’m always very hesitant to show my support for organisations that keep wild animals in captivity, but the sad fact is that if some of these animals weren’t in captivity, their species would no longer exist on this planet. Another point to make is that all of these animals were bred in captivity. Many of them are rescue cases and would not survive in the wild. The Big Cat Sanctuary gives them a place to live out the rest of their days.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

Here are a few examples of The Big Cat Sanctuary residents…

The sanctuary’s white tiger, Narnia, was born in a French circus and now loves to destroy cardboard boxes, chase boomer balls and play tug of war with her food.

Female tiger Kushka spent the majority of her life performing for the Great British Circus, until 2012.

The largest cat on the site, Tamair the hybrid tiger was born into a Irish circus. He is now an old man, enjoys grumbling to himself, scratches from the keepers and snoozing in front of his heat lamp, as you will see from my vlog.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

Artur is the sanctuary’s Amur leopard and has been part of the Amur leopard & Tiger Alliance breeding programme, which was formed to combat current threats to these breeds. Small numbered populations like these are vulnerable to disease and in-breeding with no chance of natural subsequent out breeding. This is the world’s most endangered big cat and it is estimated that around only sixty Amur leopards remain in the wild.

Clouded leopards, Ben and Mandalay, are a breeding pair that have successfully produced many litters of cubs for the EEP (European Endangered species breeding Program) and have now retired to The Big Cat Sanctuary.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

Yazhi, the gorgeous, but tiny Puma, arrived at The Big Cat Sanctuary after being born at Paradise Wildlife Park. She was sadly rejected by her mother and wouldn’t have survived if she hadn’t been hand reared. Due to her early interactions with humans, Yazhi now loves people and is quite a character at the sanctuary.

The three Cheetah brothers, Bajami, Keene and Martin, are part of the studbook for Southern Cheetah and we will hopefully be used for breeding in the future, with Cheetahs being catagorized as ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Petra, the Eurasian Lynx, was involved in the animal training and film industry and is now happily retired at The Big Cat Sanctuary.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

So, as you can see, each animal at the site has it’s own story, so aswell as being involved in conservation, protection and various breeding programmes of vulnerable and endangered species, the sanctuary provides, refuge, safety and comfort for many animals that may otherwise be in worse conditions or even dead.

Please do go ahead and follow this amazing sanctuary at the links I have provided at the end of this blog. You can check out their website for open dates, or private booking details and you can also see a lot more in my weekly vlog, which I have included below.

The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger
The Big Cat Sanctuary, by Specialist UK Equine Portrait Photographer, Essex I via sophiecallahanblog.com I #equinephotography #photography #equineblogger

Specialist equine portrait photographer, blogger & vlogger. Essex based, travelling throughout the UK.