Wild beasts available online

Howletts Wild Animal Park lets Web surfers view its creatures online, despite possibility of live keeper-mauling action.

Animal enthusiasts the world over can now enjoy the world's first on-line zoo, thanks to a host of a interactive cameras installed at Howletts Wild Animal Park and made available at its Web site Monday.

This pioneering Internet zoo technology includes a elephant-cam, a tiger-cam and a gorilla-cam as well as panoramic cameras, all of which can be controlled by wildlife-hungry Web-surfers.

Howletts, based in Bekesbourne near Canterbury, is famous for a progressive policy allowing keepers to enter animal enclosures alone. The fact that just four years ago a tiger keeper was mauled to death by one of his animals does not seem to have affected the zoo's decision to launch this new service.

Howletts was founded 40-years ago by John Aspinall and not only looks after a wide range of endangered species, but also has an exceptionally successful program of breeding and re-introducing many different beasts to the wild.