Cute tiger cub

Kittens and cubs at WHF

There have been many kittens and cubs born at WHF and we have been lucky enough to photograph some of them. My favourite are the Pallas Cat kittens, specifically, Tula and Wei-Shand’s first litter, which consisted of two boys – Caspian and Aduva; and two girls – Pamir and Ulan Bator.  The boys eventually went to Jardin des Plantes, while Ulan Bator went to Parc de Felins and Pamir to the Rare Species Conservation Centre.

I have had the pleasure of watching Pamir grow up at the RSCC and have even visited Ulan Bator at Parc de Felins but haven’t quite made it to see the boys.

Pallas Cat Kitten

We were quite fortunate to be able to photograph the Pallas Cat kittens as they were off-show at the time but we were allowed to photograph them from a safe distance away. This was more for the kittens’ safety than ours since they are vulnerable to toxoplasmosis until they are 4 years old!

Pallas cat kitten sitting on a rock

Toba and Kubu, the Sumatran Tiger Cubs have given us some wonderful photographic opportunities since they were 10 weeks old.  Access to the kittens and cubs at WHF is a lot more limited than say the RSCC but we still managed to capture images of them at 10 weeks, 16 weeks and then at 1 year old. Here they are at 10 weeks old.

Sumatran Tiger Cub close-up

At 16 weeks, these Sumatran Tiger Cubs still looked cute but you could see their faces were already changing. It was just lovely, watching them playing together.

I love you bro - sumatran tiger cubs kissing

Playing and practising their stalking skills…

Stalking practice

I mean, how could you resist this face?

Soulful eyes

And those beautiful eyes.

Sumatran tiger cub - Endangered cat

As young sub adult tigers, Toba and Kubu they have lost all their cubbish looks and you can see what magnificent adults they are growing to be.

Sub adult male sumatran tigers

Xizi the Amur Leopard has also had two litter of cubs but we only managed to visit the second litter – a boy and a girl named Manchurian and Zeya respectively.

Amur leopard cubs at WHF having a discussion

Taking photos of the amur leopard cubs proved to be quite challenging as Xizi was an extremely protective mother and kept charging at the fence.

Amur Leopard Cub at WHF

Samia, the Serval cat was brought into WHF specifically to breed with Malawi. The result was also a boy, Mwazi and a girl named Jua.

Two month old serval cat kitten

These adorable kittens were just 2 months old when we visited them and as cute as a button. I look forward to having the opportunity to photograph them again as they get older.

A Study in Cute Kittens and Cubs at WHF

Eye of the Tiger

WHF Smarden

The WHF (Wildlife Heritage Foundation) was where David had his first proper nature photography lesson back in 2009, so it was only fitting that my first proper lesson was also here. My photo day was bought for me by David as a wedding anniversary present.

Since that day, we have been back to photograph the big cats and the little cats at WHF Smarden many times and in the process, have gotten to know both the cats and the wonderful volunteers who look after the place very well. It would be so easy to fill my blog with the photos that I have taken at WHF but I prefer to share a few images of some of my favourite cats.

Xizi an amur leopardess of WHF Smarden

Meet Xizi, an amur leopard. In the time we have known her, she has had three litters of gorgeous cubs. Her son, Argun, may be seen in the gallery below.

A Snow Leopard of WHF Smarden

Ranschan was my very first snow leopard and he remains my favourite. He wasn’t always obliging for the camera but when he was in the mood, he made a fantastic model.

Murphy the Snarling Cheetah from WHF Smarden

Murphy the cheetah, affectionately known as “Smurf” is a superstar when it comes to posing for the camera. He has the most amazing collection of facial expressions and it is all too easy to forget that he is not a domestic cat.

Clouded Leopard photographed at WHF Smarden

Ben the Clouded Leopard was a former resident of Santago until the rare leopards project was closed down following the death of owner and founder Peter James.  The loss of Peter is a huge blow to cat conservation – many of the big cats that can be found at WHF, Paradise Wildlife Park and other sanctuaries around the world were rescued by Peter. David and I were one of the last people to visit Santago before it closed in 2009.

Sumatran Tiger as photography by Pui Hang Miles at WHF Smarden

Nias the Sumatran Tiger has fathered two litters of cubs in the time that we have known him. Sumatrans are instantly recognisable by their slightly mad looking faces. You can read more about his second litter of cubs, Toba and Kubu here Kittens and cubs at WHF.

Eurasian Lynx at WHF Smarden

Petra is an ex-TV star. She was retired from the world of animal actors after she got a bit too playful on set. Considering photographers are actually allowed into the enclosure with her now, I think it would be fair to say that she has calmed down.

Snarling Puma from WHF Smarden

WHF Smarden is home to two puma sisters, Valentina and Viktoria. The former (pictured above) gives wonderful snarls whilst Viktoria likes to entertain her audience by jumping across water.

Juvenile fishing cat from WHF Smarden

Neptune the fishing cat came to WHF Smarden with his brother Aquarius and sister Angel as part of the deal that saw Pamir the Pallas Cat move from WHF to the Rare Species Conservation Centre. The timing of their move was quite fortuitous as their father had started to become intolerant of their presence and it was only a matter of time before he hurt one of the kittens.

Below is a gallery of more of my favourite images from WHF Smarden. I hope you enjoy looking at them and would love to hear your thoughts on my photos. As ever, click on a thumbnail to see a larger image.