Natasha Balletta Photography | Howletts Wild Animal Park

Howletts Wild Animal Park

I went to visit Howletts Wild Animal Park near Canterbury in Kent recently, I was looking forward to visiting after wanting to go there for a while. It is a lovely zoo that has a variety of animals from African Elephants to Monkeys, Tigers and Leopards. I was in my element because of the different big cats and monkeys at the zoo. Some of the animals I was excited about photographing the most were the elephants and langur monkeys, I could have spent all day with them.

Howletts is the only zoo in the UK that has a herd of African Elephants. Due to things such as the ivory trade and being poached for their tusks 100 elephants per day loose their lives. They are endangered in the wild which is very sad. Elephants also play an important role, during the dry season they use their tusks to dig for water which provides water for them and other animal species that live in the same area.

Tigers are one of the animals I have always been passionate about visiting and photographing, I was excited to visit one of their beautiful tigers Arina that has a special story, she was hand reared by the keepers when she was cub after being abandoned by her mum. When Arina was younger she developed a lack of bone mass which causes her to limp when she walks. Despite what Arina has been through, she still has a zest for life and bond with her keepers.

One of the other animals I enjoyed photographing was the Javan Langur Monkeys. Some of the problems they face in Asia are habitat destruction, hunting and young monkeys being taken away from their mums for the illegal pet trade, it is some of the reasons why they are an endangered species and need our help in the wild. One of Howletts conservation projects is the Javan Primate Project outside Malang in Indonesia, they rescue langur monkeys from the illegal pet trade and reintroduce them back into the wild and protected areas.

Howletts Wild Animal Park was set up by John Aspinall in 1957, it used to be a private zoo before opening to the public in 1975. In John's memory they have the conservation charity The Aspinall Foundation that work with Howletts and their partner zoo Port Lymne release some of their animals from the zoo into protected reserves in the wild which will hopefully help the survival of the species. The past few years the Foundation has released western lowland gorillas, black rhinos, javan langurs and european bison back into the wild. For more information on the Aspinall Foundation please visit their website