The British Wildlife Centre, in Surrey is a fantastic place housing a collection of native wildlife. On days where they are not open to the public they run photography days, where the keepers take people inside the enclosures to get up close to the animals.

Photography of captive animals is often a controversial subject amongst wildlife photographers, some see it as cheating, and some unscrupulous photographers try to pass photos of captive animals off as wild – very misleading for the rest of us.

I personally like my wildlife wild, enjoying the experience of watching animals in their natural environment, but there are benefits to photographing captive animals. Firstly, by photographing a captive animal, you’re not out disturbing any wildlife. Second, an individual that is habituated to humans will often let you get closer and get images that would not be possible in the wild, and finally it’s great practice – you can really observe how the animal moves, how it behaves, it’s size and character, so when you do encounter that species in the wild you’ll be prepared.

I have no problem with photographing captive animals, as long as photographers declare that the images were taken in controlled conditions. Honesty is the best policy in my opinion, so the images in this post are of captive animals.

I’m starting with the Otters, it was great to get close to these normally shy and elusive creatures. The light was pretty harsh for photography, but I managed a few shots.

Check back tomorrow for part 2….!

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