The photo was taken as the Zoo was about to close and I was on my way out, exactly one week before the first lockdown hit us, in March of last year.
I was hoping to go with one of the new Amurs this year, but a long delay in access to their exhibits for the viewing public meant any great shots of them would be snapped too late for my publishing deadline, so it looked as if I’d be “tigerless” for one more year. But at the 11th Hour – while my friend, Lynda, and I were at the Zoo hoping to finally catch a glimpse of the huge cats – lightning struck.
For without any perceptible warning Vitali suddenly rolled over and leaped to his feet, emitting an ear-splitting roar directed squarely at me, mere feet away from him. Yes, there was a fence and a railing between us but this isn’t information one tends to process in the nanosecond a tiger turns to roar at him.