Simi, Zena, Casper & friends | Isle of Wight Zoo

17, Apr 2016Personal

A self endulgent day of photography at the Isle of Wight Zoo!

I found out about the photography days at the Isle of Wight zoo four years ago. This year I was finally able to attend a day at the zoo with the amazingly talented wildlife and sports photographer Karen-Jane Dudley ( Karen spends much of the year out in South Africa working with the Global White Lion Protection Trust – what she doesnt know about big cats isn’t worth knowing! She is a passionate conservationist and I am in awe of her work.

Photographing these beautiful animals was incredible, all were rescused from private owners or circus’. Each creature has their own story – some of which are heartbreaking, but seeing them being well looked after and happy was amazing. I can now proudly say I have been ‘chuffed’ at by a tiger – chuffing means ‘I love you’ in tiger and of course I chuffed it back! Yes I learnt how to ‘chuff’ too!

So, let me introduce you to Zena, Aysha & Simi the tigers, Frosty and Casper the lions, Tzingy, Michelle, Catherine and McLovin the lemurs and a couple of meercats just because they make me smile!


Zena is a white version of the Indain tiger. Without the intervention of humans white tigers would not exist.  There has been so much inbreeding in their history that they are now prone to serious health problems. Zena herself has suffered from the cat equivalent of qlaucoma as a result had to have her right eye removed in 2006. She still has to have drops daily in her left eye.

IOW_Zoo_klpphotography_lion_tiger_Simi_wildlife Photography-Zena



02-IOW_Zoo_klpphotography_lion_tiger_Simi_wildlife Photography-Zena



We were lucky enough to have front row seats at feeding time!




Frosty the elegant lioness



The King of the Zoo – Casper!






Although focussing on big cats we were also able to go into the lemur enclosures. They are very partial to red grapes!


Zebedee – Ring Tailed Lemur




Tzingy – Ring Tailed Lemur



Michelle – Ring Tailed Lemur



Catherine (left) & McLovin! – Mongoose Lemurs




Simi is most definitely my favourite! This beautiful tiger was rescued from a European circus only 12 weeks before I met her.  When she arrived she was very thin and had not been treated well.  In her short time at the zoo she had started to settle and is much happier – it is belived Simi has never seen grass before her arrival at the zoo. She is a little wobbly on her back legs but it doesnt appear to be causing her any pain.  It is possible that the unsteady ness may be as a result of muscle wastage from her time in restricted enclosures at the circus.






My day of photography at the IOW Zoo was fantastic – a experience definitely worth waiting 4 years for!  For more information on the workshop visit

Kathryn x