: Welcome to my humble show, !
Do you enjoy being here?
: Of course I do! I'm already so excited !
: What part about being here does excite you MOST?
: Interviews are always exciting, whether it's the GhulShow or not I think it's the anticipation which questions will be asked since this defines where our course will take us and you never know where you might end up.
: I see, I see…
So, our course will head straight towards BIG CATS!
Tell us something about BIG CATS, please!
: Uhm, okay, where should I start? There's so much to tell about big cats in general and of course "my" big cats
: Start with YOUR big cats, please, and if you still want then, feel free to also deduct some universal truths, about big cats in general!
: All right so here we go!
I've been volunteering at a Big Cat shelter - called Sanctuary for Predators and Exotic Animals (= Raubkatzen und Exotenasyl Ansbach; www.raubkatzenasyl.de ) - in Germany for two years now. They only fund themselves through donations so any help, financially or man power, is welcome. The take in big cats, primates and other exotic animals if they can't find a home anywhere else. Which is mostly the case when a circus can't come up for the food expenses or the cats are held illegally. The currently care for 6 tigers, 1 cougar, 1 lynx, 1 caracal, 2 macaques, 2 opossums, 1 arctic fox, 1 red fox and 9 ferrets. Yes, ferrets are pets but they serve as ambassadors and of course as pet-able animals.
What do I do? Mainly I help out on open house day which is once a month and answer all those questions the visitors have and of course look after the a little too curious visitors so they won't get too near to the tigers. I also try to take a week off every year to help throughout the day which mostly involves cleaning but also enrichment.
Enrichment (and here comes the little trivia/general knowledge) is very important for wild animals in captivity since otherwise they are prone to show stereotypical behavior.
So what do I enjoy doing most? actually it's NOT taking pictures of the residents of the Sanctuary. It's the enrichment part: playing with them, discovering their character and forming a bond with those magnificent creatures. I mean who can say they played with a tiger at the weekend? (even if it's with a set of bars in between. We are never ever inside the cage at the same time as the animals.) Right you got it. Not that many.
: Which of the SPEA inhabitants, do you think, has the most interesting character?
: That's a really tough question. They all have so much character. James and Nala (the Japanese Macaques) are the most intelligent by far, Rhani (our tiger nanny) is the gentlest, Boris (tiger, 7 years) can be a real show off, Ussuri (Boris brother) loves to play in the water, but my favorite is Anubis (lynx). She is very suspicious towards strangers and big crowds make her uncomfortable, however when you take you time, sit in front of her enclosure for a few hours, talk to her and show her that you are not the one to fear she learns to trust you.
: What did you two actually talk about lately?
: I have to confess that I haven't talked to her in a while since I barely have the time next to university to go and visit. But before that: You know the usual stuff: What kind of boys we are into, how the weather is, that we have so much to do and so little time, how many fireflies we could count last night. You name it
: I see…
So what is your opinion on my PERSONAL favourite of the SPEA inhabitants, Ussuri the tiger?
Did you talk with him, too?
: He's my play mate Everybody says he's really cautious and shy but actually he's just plain curious and cute. I love playing with him through the fence: Me running in one direction and he running alongside on his side of the fence. Or when he's bathing in the pool and sees I'm watching he loves to suddenly jump out of the pool and shower me with water. Lots of water. It's so much fun! And of course we say hello to each other. A little tiger-ish for everybody: "Hello" is a sound made through the nose which sounds a little like "frrrrr" when you roll the "r". Something like when a horse snorts.
: Yes, I love that sound!
That sound is just why I think all of them brothers are great characters, but only Ussuri I do consider a new FRIEND!
So, what's his relationship with the other two actually like?
: The way brothers are: Fine as long as they keep their distance and friendly and chatted after they had their meal but never ever let them into the same enclosure! Since they are males they would fight for their territory probably till death. However since we have a nice and sturdy fence between them all they can do is play fight and snarl
: What does their MOM think of this?
: She is actually NOT their mom. They aren't related at all but we call Rhani our tiger nanny since she's already 21 years old and tigers become 8 years-old on average in captivity. She actually doesn't care much about the boys fighting with each other. She's used to all the noise they make She just enjoys lying in the sun and being a model for any photographer who'll have her. However when you give her a ball you might think she was 4 not 21. And she definitely is the happiest tiger in the world. Btw she's the most loved tiger at the sanctuary since she's really nice to everybody. And who couldn't love a heartwarming granny?
: Talking about GRANNIES, don't you think that Rhani with her 21 cat years is just a bit, well, old, to act like such a perfect MODEL as she does?
Also, do you think BIG CATS actually happen to waste "thoughts" on such shit?
If so, do you think it has something do to with having been CONFISCATED BY THE CUSTOMS as a child, and been PUT INTO A ZOO? If not, what about that story, anyway?
: We don't force our tigers to do anything. So if she likes to play in the water like a three year old she should do it and just enjoy it! Who said that grannies can't stay young?
I doubt they thing about these things. They just do whatever they enjoy and whatever might get them some attention and food Sure, they all have their own character. Some are braver than others but in the end I doubt they would think "oh no! I'm almost 100 years old let's not play with that super duper fancy waterball because that's too childish."
Rhani only stayed 2 or 3 weeks in the Stuttgart Zoo (Wilhelma) to regain health and since you are not allowed to call us a zoo I'm inclined to say that Rhani (nor any of our other animals) ever got a real zoo feeling.
About Rhani's story: I'll try to make it short She had been smuggled by an immigrant in a sport bag. Fed on condensed milk naturally she was totally underweight. So when the officials found the bag at Frankfurt airport they took her to the Wilhelma. When she was well enough she was passed on to us. So yes, she has been living at the Sanctuary for 21 years minus 6 weeks Shortly after her arrival another tiger cub came in our care and we decided to put them together. Carmen and Rhani have been the best friends until Carmen unfortunately passed away due to old age in 2008. If you want to read the whole story with all its details please visit our English website: www.raubkatzenasyl.de/blog/en/… you will find a story to each of our animals there.
: Which of the SPEA inhabitants do you think, has the WORST story to tell about HUMANS?
: They all have bad stories to tell about humans. Except maybe for Anubis the lynx-lady (she was only held illegally but in very good conditions.) However I think the worst story is the one Pünktchen (German for little spots) would tell. She and her now deceased brother Anton were held in a 8m2 small stall which had filled up with bones and excrements when the police found them. Their water bowl was full of algea and I really don't want to know what else lived in there. For two years those two lovely cougars never saw anything else than that terrible stall. Up to today Pünktchen has not been able to trust humans completely and is very suspicious of anything new.
: Oh yes, I do remember that story VERY well…
I think you can even see a glimpse of that still, in her smile:
So, how did the SPEA keepers manage to get over that suspiciousness of her, and how long did it take?
I also read that she happens to "enjoy Rhani's company" by now… Is that "normal", for a cougar?
: They never really managed to get her over that suspicioun. She learned with time that we don't want to harm her but that's a process which is still going on and I doubt we will ever get her to trust us the way Rhani or the brothers do. Every cat has their own personality just like humans. So it's more a play of chance if they get along with their enclosure neighbors or not. Rhani and Pünktchen are both pretty old ladies so that's always a good basis to start from. However I highly doubt they would get along if placed into the same enclosure. It's really just friendly neighbors with them.
: Well I could go on like this all the time, , but since you already left all the links someone could possibly need, let's not talk about BIG CATS any longer, but rather about YOU!
Because YOU actually do not only take pictures of BIG CATS…
What else do you do?
: Photography wise I photograph anything to do with animals (even if you will find the tigers are most prominent in my gallery). I also love macro shots and nature shots.Outside DA I'm studying at university, try to do some university political stuff and I do archery. I love to read - though there are always more books than I have time and of course my family wants to see me once in a while and the other way round.
: In what way do you think, is READING connected with WRITING?
Mother and DaughterMother and Daughter
alternate title: Haunted
by Kiara Vestigium
Can you hear the children playing
Running around the wooden shed
Laughing, howling, whispering, yelling,
Taking everything they get
Their icy fingers tugging,
Pulling on every single tile
While on the floor we are huddling
Forming a frightened human pile
The Howling turns to moaning
And the whispering to groaning
Deluge-like rain starts to pour
What more must we endure?
All planks around us creaking
The roof in places leaking
For the broken window glass they reach
Fright and fear the children teach
A wolf picks up its lonely howl
God, please save my unworthy soul
I hold you close and shut my eyes
Dreading the sun might never rise
Rain drops sparkling
Falling down from heaven
Just as my tears
Are streaming down my cheeks
The heaven is crying
A duet with me
Both because of love
That was failed so long ago
The rain wets the streets
As my tears wet my cheeks
Rain washing away the dirt
Tears cant delete memories
A drop caught on a leaf
Glittering in the sun
Seems to be the universe
Of my not so sparkling life
For you a drop is water
For some a drop is life
For me each drop is a unique wonder
Fascinating my heart to strive
Maybe there is a secret
About rain and tears combined
But I dont care about it
As well as space and time
In the end there is big difference
Between my tears and rain
The rain will do some good
My tears are just for vain
Sometime the rainll stop falling
Sometime my tears will dry
The rain will be forgotten
My tears never in a while
by Kiara Vestigium
Just the coldness you've worn
Is hurting me
Is freezing me
Is eating me from inside
You don't see it
You can't feel it
'Cuz you're wearing
Like a jacked
To reject me
Why are you doing this?
Why to me?
What have I done?
That I can't see
Just my heart you've thrown
On your marble floor
To shatter into
You kiss me
In front of the cameras
But don't you see
That I'm breaking
At your coldness
At your icy kisses
I'm being torn
I'm freaking out
Just because of your damn coldness
Just me sitting on the floor
Because of you
So much bad to me
I love you
How on earth can that be?!
Just my heart
Running awayBy Kiara Vestigium
Im running wild and free
Im running and Im losing me
Im running with no aim
Im running, but its no game
The first moment my foot touched the hard surface of the street I was running.
I was running away from something
I was running through something
I was running towards somewhere
I was running out of somewhere
Although I had to leave my friends behind, I ran.
I ran, but I didnt know why
I ran, but I didnt know where
I ran, but was it enough?
I ran, but was it right?
Faster. Faster! The thought hammered in my head in the rhythm of my blood pulsing through my veins.
I wasnt fast enough to out run him
I wasnt deaf enough to ignore the steps behind me
I wasnt blind enough to over see him
I wasnt brave enough to stop and explain
What has he done to me? My heart broken, my mood pulled down.
Am I running away from him?
Am I running away from pain?
Am I running away from memory?
Am I running away from hi
: Oh my gosh! You dug up those old things Just an update for the ones wanting not to drabble in year old stuff: I've moved on to short stories but I can't upload them here on DA since they're being published in a little magazine. Albeit a very, very small magazine. Maybe I could post parts of the stories though ...
Back to your question: I've been writing stories since I can remember and I've been reading since before I can remember anything Later I wanted to write because I wanted to give back to all those people who have given me so many great worlds to get lost in. Since I mainly write in English reading is important for me to expand my vocabulary to stay up to date with my grammar and to simply see what writing styles are out there.
Though mostly I read to enjoy
: Do you also write stories, about BIG CATS?
: Yep My latest short story is called "The Tiger and the Rat or A Tale About Power" and it does indeed feature a tiger in the Indian jungle trying to regain his dignity after losing his eye-sight. That's where the rat comes in.
: So where can our humble audience take a glimpse at that one?
: To be honest nowhere at the moment since - as I mentioned before - I can't upload them here on DA as they're being published in a little magazine. Albeit a very, very small magazine.
: But still, it certainly does have a name…?
: It's called "The Sparrow Anthology - Poetry and Prose from the University of Ulm"
Do you have any other last words left, for our noble audience?
: Take care, have fun and never attempt to keep a tiger in your flat No, seriously: Do what you love or at least try to come as close to that as possible and just enjoy life. It can be hard sometimes but happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. (yes, this is a HP quote )
: Ladies and gentlemen, !
BIG CATS love her! Do YOU love her, too?
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