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Courtesy of Anna Downs/The Charger Bulletin

Anna Downs, Editor-in-Chief

Last winter, I had an internship at a local magazine, Milford Living, in Milford, Conn., as a staff photographer. I assisted with photography assignments. Most of the time, the assignments were photographing buildings around town, people or events, but last February, I was assigned to photograph something special.

I was asked to photograph two sister tiger cubs at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn.. 

At the time, I was not aware of the extent to which I would be able to photograph them. I packed up my gear and drove over.

When I arrived at the facility, I got a tour of the building that the tiger cubs were.

Finally, we approached the room where the two tiger cubs, Reka and Zeya, were being kept. We were asked to take our shoes off and then we entered their area.

I got to take numerous photos of these young cubs. They were on my lap for about an hour. They were crawling everywhere, playing.It was difficult keeping them away from my camera strap. I did get a little bite from one of them, but nothing intense– no Band-Aid needed.

The feeling of these big paws climbing up my lap was unreal. This was something I most likely will never have the chance to do again. I am so thankful I was chosen to photograph those two cubs and share my images with the magazine.

The hardest part of this encounter was keeping it under wraps for weeks before the magazine went to print because they were worried about another publication trying to pick up the story. I was not allowed to share the photos on social media, which was a hard task for a young lady who had photos of tiger cubs. 

Eventually, I was able to share the photos and we went to print. The cubs, Reka and Zeya, are approaching their second birthday this January and can be seen at the Beardsley Zoo.