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Cold climate carnivores

This winter has been far too wet and windy in England, but here in Sweden there’s thick snow on the ground and it really feels like a proper winter should. Some areas in Sweden over the past few days have reached 46 degrees below freezing, but here in Nordens Ark, just a chilly minus 14!

P4260179These temperatures are no problem for most of the animals here, as Nordens Ark works to save and preserve endangered animals which mainly come from climates very similar to that in Scandinavia. Many of the large carnivores here thrive under such cold conditions, and today I was lucky enough to experience and photograph several of my favourites. These included the normally nocturnal European lynx, the only feline native to Sweden, the wolverine, the wolf, and the beautiful snow leopard.

It was really wonderful to see all these animals at such close quarters and particularly the snow leopards –  the high mountains of Central Asia are the home of the snow leopard, one of the world’s most mysterious cats. It is well adapted to life in the extreme cold of the mountains and so secretive they were once thought to be a myth, earning the name ‘Ghost Cat’ because of being almost impossible to see in the wild.

P4260109I would like to give a special thanks to the keepers and management of Nordens Ark for allowing me the privilege of experiencing these wonderful creatures so close up and for their hospitality throughout my stay. Soon it will be time for me to leave, but beforehand I look forward to seeing another feline favourite that enjoys the cold, the world’s largest cat, the Amur tiger.

Hope you enjoy some pictures from today below (please click to enlarge)

All images (c) Andrew Gray

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