Longleat animals leave no leaf unturned

Wiltshire Times: The Amur tigers playing in the autumnal leaves The Amur tigers playing in the autumnal leaves

Clearly it’s not just children who find the prospect of leaping into a mound of autumn leaves simply irresistible.

Tigers, monkeys and meerkats at Longleat Safari & Adventure Park also joined in the seasonal fun and games, with a little help from the Wiltshire attraction’s team of gardeners.

Piles of autumnal leaves collected on the estate are providing a novel new attraction for many of the Safari Park’s residents; including a trio of endangered Amur tigers.

All three of the big cats were apparently fascinated by the fallen leaves, particularly when they discovered keepers had hidden a selection of tasty treats inside.

“The tigers love anything new to investigate and they were soon leaping into the leaves and hunting out the food inside the mounds,” said Longleat’s Ian Turner.

“The leaf litter also provided the perfect opportunity for them to practice their ambush skills – it’s quite a sight to see fully-grown tigers leaping over piles of leaves!

“The leaves went down equally well with our troop of macaque monkeys who wasted no time in wading into the mounds and start foraging for food,” he added.

Longleat’s team of gardeners are usually kept busy clearing leaves from the middle of October until the end of December but this year’s milder weather has meant the main leaf drop is only now taking place.

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