LOOK INTO THE EYES OF A TIGER

  • Photo: Dmitry Mezentsev
  • Text: Vasiliy Avchenko

The Safari Park is a fenced plot of forest located right along the Vladivostok — Nakhodka highway, near the village of Shkotovo (about 70 km from Vladivostok). Those traveling the direction of the popular seaside beaches Livadia and Triozyore often stop here on the way.

The Safari Park was created by Dmitry Mezentsev, a biologist and wildlife photographer, in 2007 and solves several problems: it helps wounded and sick animals, releases recovering animals back into the wild, and provides education on the environment. And, most importantly for visitors, it provides the opportunity to look a wild animal in the eye. This is not a zoo where the animals are sitting in cages, and it is not a circus. Here the animals live freely in their familiar environment, albeit limited to a few hectares.

The park is divided into sections: hoofed animals, predators, and birds ... You can explore with a guide or choose a particular section. I started with the hoofed animals. Then I went to the predators, which include all the living major Primorye types: the Amur and Taiga tigers. The guests view these beasts from a safe place, a surveillance platform lifted to a height of several meters, which runs virtually the perimeter of the tigers’ territory.

Dersu Uzala, the hero of Arseniev’s book, stated: Happy is he who has never seen a tiger. The old Goldi knew that the meeting with the owner of the taiga could end badly. But here the Safari Park makes it possible to see a tiger up close and remain unscathed.

The Safari Park is an illustrative textbook of corporate Primorye biodiversity. It is home to wolves (including the rare red wolf), Japanese raccoon dogs, bears, Far Eastern forest cats, small Sitka deer and Far Eastern red deer. There are also roe deer, musk deer, and wild boars ... You can pet and even feed many of the animals. The birds are a separate song: hawks, owls, eagle owls, pheasants and others. The Park’s population is constantly changing.

Therefore, having visited the Safari Park once, you will want, after a period of time, to visit again: to see old friends and the new inhabitants.

Come to Vladivostok!

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