Despite the official permit to photograph in Codrii National Park, this guard keeps bothering me and arguing that I can’t take pictures from the roof of the scientists’ building… Without my translator I am trying to explain that I am only taking pictures of the morning lights and I do have the permit from the Director himself.
Probably I wasn’t clear enough as he grabs my 500 mm with my D3 and lifts them above the fence, warning me that if I’d carry on, he’d throw them from the roof… My gear is already half way in the air when I discover myself as a dangerous maniac lunatic shouting and ready to slaughter anyone with my tripod… The guard must understand french as he steps back and puts my lens carefully on my bag. He leaves the roof without a word with this fairly surprised and worried look…
I forgot this misadventure quickly remembering my last evening…
Yesterday night when I arrived in Codrii Forest Reserve, Lucian my translator and I, decided to take a walk at the edge of the forest just before sunset to have a quick look at the area. Hoping for a roe deer or a fox. What a surprise to hear after little while the mewl of a cat… I know there are wild cat in Codrii forest and it is one of the rarest mammal in the country. I was already ecstatic to hear it when Felis silvestris appeared in the long grass 25 metres away… I had time to identify the cat despite its summer coat, with a nice thick tail ending with 3 black rings and a characteristic line on its back drawing a cross on its shoulders. “Haaaaaaaaa!!!!!”, was I shouting in my head! I left my 500 mm in my bedroom!!!)The only lens I have is my 70/200 mm…
The cat spent few minutes staring at us to spot any movement but as we were frozen solid he then came up a bit closer and started to investigate. When he approached around 15 metres I took few shots “just for the souvenir”. What was my surprise when the cat, probably intrigued by the sound of the shutter, came up to less than 5 meters! I couldn’t believe my luck! I got a good hundred shots but when the wind turned on its favour the cat rushed to safety.
The following morning I went back to the same spot and for 7 days in a row I roamed in the forest of codrii in search of the elusive cat. I spotted roe and red deer and even some japanese deer that have been introduced in Codrii (and unfortunately are now breeding with Cervus elaphus) but no sign of Mister cat. The last morning though, it was still very dark, I got another shot of a wild cat. He was about to pass me trotting on the path when I whistled to stop him, 5 shots and he was gone. The scientists and the warden of Codrii confirmed that I was extremely lucky as some of them only saw the wild cat once or twice in their life.
That was the end of my last mission for Wild Wonders of Europe.
Laurent Geslin / Wild Wonders of Europe
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.