Anyone who's been following this blog for any length of time can probably figure out where this is going to lead.
First stop, the Jaguars.
I spent a few hours on Saturday morning at the San Diego Zoo. The first couple of hours were spent hanging out with the Jaguars. Not long after I arrived the keeper put out a fresh femur bone, brought in Guapo the male, and put out the cubs and their mother. The cubs got to spend a fair amount of time gnawing on it - after their mother first dragged it up to the a little cave.
There was also some time to play in the trees.
Nindiri, the mother, decided she needed a drink from the pool. The light on Saturday was a combination of very hot, bright sun and strong shadows. You can really get a feel for how these cat's camouflage works when you see them in this sort of harsh light.
After a brief stop to check out the lioness, and an even briefer stop to see what the polar bears were up to (nothing - just napping in the heat) I headed over to see the Malayan tigers.
Along the way I found this egret up in a tree.
When I first arrived at the Malayan Tiger enclosure nothing was happening. I hung out for a while, chatting with a couple of other photographers, and after a bit Christopher, one of the now about-a-year-and-a-half-old cubs came down the hillside. One of the keepers told me that they are still technically cubs until about 2 years old. These guys are as big or bigger than their mother, and have been separated from her for little while now. It's hard to believe they're the same little cats I first saw not much over a year ago.
I have to say, Christopher and Connor are certainly 2 very photogenic big cats. I think they know it too - Christopher does seem to enjoy having his picture taken.
After a while his brother Connor wandered down the hill to see what was going on. In these pictures you can clearly see how to tell them apart. The marking over the right eye is unique on each tiger. Christopher's is a sort of connected triangle, while Connor's has a little gap at the top.
Connor decided it would be fun to bat around this big ball that is hanging on the end of a chain from one of the trees. He got it going back and forth pretty well, for quite a while too. Unfortunately I've not yet figured out how to use the video feature on my camera, and even if I had, my lens was probably a bit too long anyway. But it was a lot of fun to watch. Judging by the way he was hitting it, I think that ball is fairly heavy.
After he got bored with the swinging ball he decided to head down towards the stream and pond to munch on some plants.
Christopher, meanwhile, found himself a shady spot under a rock ledge. It was pretty hot out there on Saturday. I think he had the right idea.
By the way, that sign in the first picture actually points the way to Cat Canyon, where the Amur Leopards, Snow Leopards, Mountain Lion and a few other big cats live. The Jaguars and Tigers are in other parts of the Zoo. Call it artistic license.
Click here to see more images from the San Diego Zoo on Saturday, August 18, 2012, including more of the baby Jaguars, the Malayan Tigers, the Lioness, and a couple of Dow, the female Fishing Cat.