At PrideRock Wildlife Refuge, providing a permanent sanctuary and shelter for mistreated and unwanted lions, tigers and cougars is our guiding mission.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Beautiful Photos

A shot like this is not easy to get!

PrideRock Wildlife Refuge uses many photos for different situations such as advertising, website, social media, press releases, informational fliers and more. Taking great photos is not easy even with stationary objects, but there are many challenges with a wildlife sanctuary including the following:

Weather-animals tend to go to their dens to stay warm in cold weather and stay cool in hot weather. Not only that, but the photographers don't want to stay out too long in either situation. Rain makes pastures, platforms and toys slippery, muddy and not very visually appealing. If the animals have been having a good time in that cool mud, no, too dirty..can't post a photo of a white tiger that looks brown now can we?
Purr-fect timing on this photo of Kumal.
Time of day: Yes, cats are crepuscular (more active at dawn and dusk) so the best time to take good photos of the cats is early in the morning and late afternoon around 5-9 p.m. And that depends on the time of year. If the sun sets around 4:30 p.m., not a lot of photos happen. The animals are active early in the morning and after their daily meal around 9 a.m., they sleep (cats normally sleep 20 hours a day). And really, how many photos of sleeping animals can one person take? Don't forget shadows. I've thought I had the best photo only to find out a shadow was hiding a face or the shadow appeared as a line going straight across the cat or bear's face.
No professionals-PrideRock depends on its volunteers to take photos as we don't have a full-time photographer nor the money to pay one. Most of our volunteers carry cameras around with them or go out after cleaning specifically to take photos. Without volunteers, our social media followers would not see any photos at all. Some volunteers come out to the property specifically to take photos and videos.
Camera- even think you have the purr-fect photo or video but when you go to open it up, its not there (you accidentally erased it) or it is so fuzzy you can't make anything out. Or you are in the middle of snapping the best shot of your live but get a notice saying your battery died. Or your lens get stuck and your camera won't respond to anything.
Environment: We always want to have clean surroundings in our photos. And believe it or not, I'm not just talking about poop. Most of time when people look at our photos they don't realize all the effort going in to that photo. When the winds are high and it is fall, leaves are everywhere. When it is cold out, the animal get straw in their dens to lay on but that has to be changed on a regular basis. Maybe the animals dug holes, tore food up and left on the ground, or the animal has a particular part of the enclosure where they put their waste...and it's right in the middle of their enclosure, making photos all the more difficult.
Moving Animals-all of the above are normal challenges for most situations but try adding moving animals to the mix. And not animals like dogs, who will obey a command. Lions, tigers and bears do not obey, no matter what. They do what they want. To have all the elements above be purr-fect plus have the cat or other animal get into a cute pose, do something funny,or look sweet and cute, or silly for that matter, is no easy task. I set my camera on continuous shooting and maybe I get a decent photo out of 50 other photos.
Noise: When taking videos, all of the above has to be just right and then there is the subject of noise. You get the perfect video until a siren goes by. Then, the wolves howl, the hyena talks, cats get the idea. Or, how about a noise flock of bird fly by or the large fans turn on or the animal you are filming toots...yes, animals do that too.  And sometimes a person walks up and starting talking to you because they don't realize you a filming and needed silence.

Yes, PRWR staff, volunteers and interns go to all this trouble to find just the right photo to post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. So next time, you are scrolling through one of our social media pages, remember, that beautiful photo was not easy to catch. It was the right time, the right weather, the right person, the right time of day and a camera that didn't act up.


Monday, January 16, 2017

When One Door Closes

Rajah, arrived January 14, 2017

Java arrived November, 2016
It is said that when one door closes, another one opens. Or you may have heard, when something bad happens, something good happens too. That is the case with PrideRock. In December, 2016, PrideRock lost two cats within three days. Mia, our 29 year old lioness and Jamu, a 16 year old tiger. Mia, died of old age and Jamu had a softball-sized tumor around his heart, which, of course, we had no way of knowing until after he died. We also lost a third cat, Golden, in January. Golden was one of three tigers given to us by ExxonMobile after they quit using live tigers in their advertisements. She died of pancreatitis, which we were treating.

With all the loss, PrideRock could use some good news. In comes Rajah, a two-year-old ex-circus tiger. PrideRock already rescued one of his mates in November, Java. In the summer, Java's brother, Bo, will also be arriving.

Death is inevitable. No matter how much we love our cats, their time comes too. Our newcomers, I'm sure, will give us just as much joy as the old-timers so we welcome them with open arms while living with our memories of those who have passed.

RIP...Mia, Golden and Jamu. Hello to new faces.


Jamu, with her brother Kashmir

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas from PrideRock

Front gate at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge decorated for Christmas

Even though PrideRock is closed to the public, the sanctuary is decorated for every holiday. Especially Christmas.  From the front gate to the bear enclosures out back, a variety of decor can be found on the property including bells, ribbons, statues, wreaths, garlands and much more. In all, decorating PrideRock takes about eight hours or more. So, we thought we would share our inner world with you. So, open the gate and come on in.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Find us on Social Media

PrideRock Wildlife Refuge may be closed to the public but we share our events, animals, and much more on our social media sites. And we have several to choose from including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Click on any icon to go directly to our pages.

See you on the web!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Sammy with a toy underneath his back scratcher
PrideRock staff doesn't like to see any of their animals feeling neglected, so we try to spoil them as much as possible - especially Sammy - no, he is not a tiger or bear, he is our office cat. And he is a true attention HOG!! He gets plenty of food, has plenty of toys, sleeps where he wants and still...he begs for attention. Samson was found by our Operations Manager Corey Allison who brought him to PrideRock. Sammy soon made himself comfortable in the feed kitchen and doesn't miss an opportunity to dart out the door when he thinks he has a chance of making it to the outdoors. Here are some photos of Sammy's "rough" life at PrideRock Wildlife Refuge.

Sammy laying on top of a box of stuffed animals
Sammy laying in a purse
Sammy hinting he is hungry
Sammy watching the wifi guys
in a box they just emptied
Sammy not realizing whatever is in the pan
gets fed to the tigers and lions
Sammy taking over the office desk
Relaxing underneath a shade tree on a nice day
Sammy even helps us promo our fundraisers
Sammy sleeping on the lap of the
PrideRock Media Relations Specialist
Robyn Wheeler

Again, Sammy in a box

Friday, November 11, 2016

Building Stuff at PrideRock Wildlife Rescue

At Left: PrideRock staff creating an outdoor log 
stair case for our smallest bear, Coco.

Below: PrideRock keeper speaks about 
rebuilding a large cat enclosure.

PrideRock's fantastic staff and interns are constantly repairing broken/old items and/or building new facilities. Most wouldn't imagine the many chores that need to be done around the sanctuary but our crew is always working. After feeding and cleaning enclosures, and mopping and sterilizing the kitchen, the odd-job work begins. Here's a few photos of our crew hard at work making PrideRock 
the excellent facility it is today.
Repairing a broken hammock

Moving a hammock from one pen to another

PrideRock teams work during the hot, sweaty summer and the cold, freezing winter. They are a rough and tumble crew who give it their all to make PrideRock the best wildlife sanctuary ever. They are dedicated, knowledgeable who will do anything for the animals!

Building the platforms around the bear pools
Jim DeCourley installing new flourescent lights
outside maintenance crew
cutting down dead tree

Constructing a new platform
on which to place a water tub 

Putting in a webcam
outside maintenance crew
cutting down a dead tree

first steps in building
 a large cat enclosure

installing more wifi
for the webcams

almost done

Finishing the
waterfall pool for "the N" sisters

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

King Cheetahs

South African cheetah
Although PrideRock Wildlife Refuge currently does not care for cheetahs, all of us love big cats of any kind. Cheetahs are sleek, fast and spotted all over, which contributes to the fascination and love of cheetahs. The South African Cheetah, like the one pictured above is probably the most well-known of all species. Other species of cheetahs include the Sudan, Tanzanian, and the Asian. But the most beautiful and rarest of all the cheetahs is the King.
Sudan cheetah
Tanzanian cheetah
 The King Cheetah is very recognizable because of its large, blotchy spots and three dark wide stripes down its neck, back and tail.

King Cheetah (back)
The King Cheetah is also called the Cooper's Cheetah because it was discovered by Major A. Cooper in 1926.
The King Cheetah has only been spotted about six times in the wild. They are known to live in Zimbabwe, Botswana and northern Transvaal.

King Cheetah (side)

Frankly, I'm waiting for the day PrideRock rescues a King Cheetah (but I'll settle for the South African Cheetah!).

(Information and photos taken from By Gaurav P - Originally uploaded to Flickr as Most beautiful of all cats, uploaded to, CC BY 2.5,