One of the best parts of raising a family on the Isle of Wight is the fantastic number of things to do that we have right on our own doorstep. This blog and my portfolio website have long been a visual celebration of the natural beauty and fantastic healthy lifestyle available here. My love for the sea and surfing has meant our beautiful coastline is heavily featured on both sites, and you can find me on a beach somewhere pretty much any time of the year, whether its for surfing, or photography, or just building sandcastles with the family.
But you can’t go to the beach every day, and raising a teenager and a toddler here, as well as working full time as a professional commercial photographer, has meant i’ve seen my fair share of the alternatives, from random rainy days in the penny arcades on Sandown pier to pirate and dinosaur laden theme parks. Today i’m returning to what i consider to be one of the best family days-out on the island, the wonderful Owl & Monkey Haven, for another in my growing series of photo-blogs / reviews from the Isle of Wight tourist attractions.
Owl & Monkey Haven by Jason Swain.
It’s been a little while since my last photo shoot here, and I’ve enjoyed coming back to visit some old friends as well as making a few new ones (some really interesting and new primates can be found in the big new Barbary Ape enclosure for example)
There’s so much to see that I didn’t have enough time to visit all the animals on this visit, and this latest batch of photos concentrates on the monkeys, as I wanted to spend a little more time with them with them and see if I could get some more interesting behavioural shots when they grew relaxed in my company (will have to come back and do the same with the Owls and birds of prey.) All the photos were shot using a Canon 6D with one of the following lenses, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L, Canon 50mm f/1.2L and Sigma 50-500mm. You can see the exif data for each image when you view them in the slideshow, click any image to start.
One thing you can’t necessarily see from the photos alone, is the passion and dedication of the haven team. All the staff I met were knowledgable and friendly, and seem to genuinely love the place and of course the residents. The animals themselves seem to be genuinely stimulated by their environment, well fed, happy and clean, it’s not a zoo, its a haven, the animals aren’t here for entertainment purposes, here’s a little bit of explanatory text about the haven taken from their website http://www.owlandmonkeyhaven.co.uk/
The Owl & Monkey Haven is a rescue centre and sanctuary for primates and birds of prey who are in desperate need of care and attention. The animals housed at the Haven have come to us for various reasons; they may have been bullied within their original groups, or unsuitable for breeding programmes: some of our raptors are injured native birds that would be unable to fend for themselves in the wild. We give these animals another chance to live enriched carefree lives in the relaxed and tranquil environment of the Owl & Monkey Haven.
I know there’s a wider debate on how best to look after wildlife but this isn’t the time or place for that. Many would argue that keeping animals in captivity is not the perfect solution, but it’s not a perfect world, and I think you just have to witness the work these guys are doing first hand to know it’s a good thing they are doing. With the Keeper talks, adoption programme, educational work via school visits and affiliation with the leaf foundation I see the haven as part of the solution, and in the context of this blog and the tourism industry on the Isle of Wight, its a great family day out and a good example of what can be achieved with hard work, dedication and belief in an idea, I’d highly recommended having a look for yourself.
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The photos on the site are all © Jason Swain with All Rights Reserved. The images are not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer. Please contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any commercial enquiries.