We minded the signs, and kept ourselves out of reach of the natives.
I'd hoped we'd saddle up and ride some of these, but these guys don't work for their chow.
This refuge is ah-MAZ-ing with 10,000 acres (the largest preserve in the country) and some very rare beasties. The Wilds is not run like a zoo; they aren't in it for money. They are all about research and conservancy.
Sable Antelope / White Rhinoceros
Not too long ago, rhinoceros in zoos were developing foot troubles, to the point of being unable to walk. After transferring some to The Wilds, where they got to walk on soft ground, the foot troubles disappeared.
Greater One-Horned RhinocerosNow, thanks to the hard work of the staff at The Wilds, rhinos in zoos have soft, padded surfaces on which to tread.
There are breeding programs for endangered species, some of which are mid-sized carnivores. Those these pretty kitties were lounging and being photogenic for our visit. Nothing fierce here...
This little fella (called a Dhole) is very shy - we were told we were lucky they came out to show off for us at all.
Mostly, they have endangered species, including the Pere David's Deer, which has been brought back from the brink and is being reintroduced in its native China.
Pere David's Deer
A small herd of wild horses clogged up the track, causing us to halt our trek. We were surrounded for quite a while - they were close enough to pat, but don't do it! They bite.
Prezwalski's Wild Horses
I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this preserve, a little bit of Africa's Serengeti Plain right here in our heartland.
The only thing I wasn't prepared for, was the rough ride in our open-air safari truck. We went over some ruts and bumps that made me feel like my upper and lower halves separated only to be reunited with some violence. If you visit, and I really hope you will, take some Ibuprofen or muscle relaxers BEFORE you climb on the bus!!
It was worth the discomfort - I can hardly wait to go back.
If you plan to visit, you might want to book your tours in advance, as it's a popular place. They have a new zip line tour (2 1/2 hours over 10 zip lines through the park), which just opened and is sold out for the first month already! We really wanted to do that...
copyright 2011 Shibori Girl