Entries in wolf (1)


Munich Zoo - Large Carnivores

Lions, tigers, and bears.  The stuff of classic movies and some of the main attractions at every zoo.  Munich is no different, especially with their new Polar Bear exhibit.  We posted photos of the new baby elephant recently, but we also captured shots that day of some even wilder things.

Lions are funny, because we know they can be ferocious but usually find them sleeping.  All day.  Fortunately, the zoo lists feeding times for the lions & other animals, so this is the chance to see them actually move.  We found the lioness initially lying down, but when she heard the keeper's keys jingling she raised her head in interest.  Barely.


She then yawned a half-dozen times, stretched, groomed, yawned again, and THEN made her way to the food.  Still looking half asleep and completely oblivious to the people crowded around watching.  I have heard that their house-cat cousins are much the same...


After dining, she paced around for a few minutes.  It's the easiest wildlife photography we'll ever do -- an animal moving slowly about the same circular path, over and over and over.  Then she was back napping.


The Polar bears have a new exhibit, and it's great (for us and them, it's claimed).  The pen is long and relatively narrow, giving the bears room to roam but always in sight of the visitors.  This overview from the Zoo web site:

The bears have lots of toys, as usual - here is one of the two hanging out in the water, chomping on a plastic drum.

There are two of them - male and female.  Honestly, I'm not sure who this is playing.

The highlight was when one of the bears climbed out of the water and up on the "rocks", then dove into the water!  Frau A was quick with the camera and caught it in photos!  A real crowd pleaser - hugh splash but not nearly wide enough to get over the "panzer glass" lining the pen.


Frau A also got a great photo of the bear shaking off water after the dive.  There was a lot of activity from the bears, so a large crowd amassed and stayed around the exhibit.  We had to pull ourselves away to see other animals.

Lions... bears...... but no tigers in this post.  Sorry.  We didn't make it to the tiger part of the zoo this time.  How about European Wolves, key figures in German fairy tales (Little Red Riding Hood...)? 


The wolves were also quite active, in a dog-like way.  They would circle their large area constantly, taking occasional breaks to lie down or socialize.  They weren't running, but moving pretty fast though, and the light was somewhat dim -- so we learned then how difficult "wildlife" photography must be.  It took a lot of failed attempts before we captured good shots of the jogging wolves, especially when they're coming at you (continuous focus is easier when something moves across the frame, equidistant from you -- rather than toward or away from you).


When they paused to kiss, Frau A captured the moment.  In this "wildlife" photography we really learned the advantage the professional cameras like her Nikon D700 bring, vs. my nice-but-clearly-amateur Olympus Pen (and for sports too).  She could focus faster, maintain focus, and get off more shots per second.

This one stopped and ventured right to the edge of their area (before the "moat" and fence that keeps them from escaping).  He looked up briefly to check us out, then went back to jogging and playing.  European wolves are smaller than their North American relatives, but just as beautiful.


Coming in a future post - sea lions!