Andy Rouse captures tiger cub photos in Indian heat

image copyrightAndy Rouse
image captionThis photo was taken with a long lens so the cub would not get nervous

A Cardiff-based wildlife photographer with a passion for tigers took advantage of soaring temperatures in India to capture his first images of a mother with her cubs.

The heat had topped 44 degrees Centigrade in Rajasthan when Andy Rouse, two days into a trek, found the shots he wanted.

The tiger, called Noor, had three-month-old cubs but she kept them sheltered in a desert cave at Ranthambore National Park.

But Andy gambled they would have to cool off and take in water in the sultry temperatures.

"I've been 6ft (2m) away from a tiger, they don't see you as food in a vehicle, they leave you alone," he said.

"But I made sure I was 150m (450ft) away in the first Jeep as I didn't want the cubs to get nervous, this was the first time they would have seen people."

image copyrightAndy Rouse
image caption'It was so hot, they do have to come to water and we knew they would have to come out of the cave to drink'
image copyrightAndy Rouse
image captionAndy is an ambassador for the 21st Century Tiger project, and has published a book on tigers.
image copyrightAndy Rouse
image caption'This silverback gorilla in Rwanda is about 20 and now has his own group - 'they're gentle souls, never any danger'
image copyrightAndy Rouse
image caption'Little owls are clowns, they're really vocal, they make you laugh and they interact'
image copyrightAndy Rouse
image captionA barn owl - 'They've had a bad year for the population but they eat quite a lot of voles a day and there are only so many of those a habitat can support'

"I used to spend a lot of time away but this was my first trip away this year," said Essex-born Andy.

He has won numerous awards, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and the Cherry Kearton Medal from the Royal Geographical Society.

"I don't take pictures every day, or every week. I work when I'm ready."

He only picked up a camera at the age of 20, won an award for his photos of urban foxes, then gave up for several years before becoming a professional 15 years ago after leaving the computer business.

"There are only certain animals I'm interested in," he said.

"I'd like to work more in Wales - but I have to go to Essex for barn owls, as I can't get access to them here.

"I'm looking for landowners, who've got them and I can get some privacy to work but it's a struggle, no-one seems to want to know."

He also photographs ospreys which nest in the Dyfi estuary in mid Wales.

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