Lions, and Tigers, and a Bear!

A Short Photo Tour of the Out of Africa Wildlife Park

On April 30, I visited the Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona. This animal preserve was founded in 1988 by Dean and Prayeri Harrison, and they seem to be very dedicated to the well-being of all the animals in their care. There are Bengal, Indochinese and Siberian tigers, African and Barbary lions, sloths, sable antelopes, a giraffe, a white rhinoceros, prairie dogs, zebras, hyenas and so many more beautiful animals, many of them threatened or endangered. A lot of the guests are rescued animals. There is a lot of space for them to roam, and no bars (although there are fences).

White tiger, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, April 30, 2016, Camp Verde, Arizona

White tiger, Out of Africa Wildlife Park, April 30, 2016, Camp Verde, Arizona

We spent an afternoon walking around after a very short "safari" ride in an open bus into an area for the zebras, giraffe, camel and other plains-type critters. (We didn't ride the zipline, but there is one that goes over the lions.)

My trip to Sabi Sabi game preserve twenty years ago remains with me today as one of the highlights of my life. I have always loved the big cats and all the other exotic animals I was first exposed to at the St. Louis Zoo. I understand the desire of many people to rid the world of zoos, and their disgust at the human concept that animals are something to be displayed behind bars and denied the life they could have in the wild.

But I am also aware that many animals would be extinct if not for zoos and wildlife preserves, and that in the world we live in, animals are going to take second place to the desires of humans (however inhumane those desires might be). Many people would never get a chance to see tigers and lions and giraffes if not for places like Out of Africa and the Bronx Zoo. Perhaps that is their best function: to make us want to protect these beautiful creatures.

All that said, I truly enjoyed my day at the wildlife park, and I think I got some stunning photos. The video I put together is more a video photo album, which I set to music by Scott Joplin and Chopin, to give a sense of the fun. It was a very hot day, but I hope I cut the burning sun out of this little show.

Here are six more photos from my mini Arizona safari. Almost all of the photos in the video can be seen on my Out of Africa Wildlife Park: A Short Photo Tour page.