Busch Gardens® Tampa has welcomed another endangered western lowland gorilla. The female gorilla was born on Feb. 6 at 8:30 p.m. and is being cared for by 27-year-old mother Mary.
“The first month will be the critical period as the mother, Mary, and the infant begin to integrate into the current gorilla troop, so the Busch Gardens animal care team will be monitoring their progress closely,” said Jeff Andrews, vice president of zoological operations for Busch Gardens.
This is Busch Gardens’ third successful gorilla birth. Bolingo, the suspected sire, was the park’s first gorilla birth in 2005. The mother, Mary, came to Busch Gardens in February 2010 from Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas with daughter Pele, who just gave birth this past December to baby Enzi.
This birth is part of Busch Gardens’ participation in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The mission of the SSP is to cooperatively manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species populations within AZA-accredited facilities. Busch Gardens’ participation helps create genetically diverse, self-sustaining populations to guarantee the long-term future of these animals.
Busch Gardens is owned by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™, one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a worldwide leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company cares for one of the largest animal collections in North America and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations.
I saw that we had snow in the forecast yesterday, so I set up our time lapse camera just for fun to capture it. If you look closely you will see a few birds too, small and large. The little birds are called juncos, and they love to come eat our walnuts. We also get a few woodpeckers, and pigeons. You will see both juncos and pigeons in the video.
Note, this video has no sound. What it is the weather like in your part of the world?
Busch Gardens® Tampa’s black rhinoceros, Forest, enjoyed some pumpkins in preparation for Halloween. As part of his daily enrichment, the animal care team provided several pumpkins for Forest! Doesn’t it look like he is having the time of his life?!
Black rhinos are considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and are found in central and southern Africa. Black rhinos have a prehensile lip that is used much like a finger to select and pick the leaves and twigs they prefer.
Today marks National Penguin Awareness Day and the SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team is celebrating with a “penguin chick” boom. Since November 30, a total of 15 penguin chicks have hatched at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, the all-new attraction which features a colony of more than 250 penguins from four species – king, Adelie, Gentoo and rockhopper.
The king penguin was the first chick to hatch followed shortly after by the Adelie, Gentoo and rockhopper chicks. Although currently ranging in size from 6 inches to 21 inches, the king chick, the largest penguin at SeaWorld’s Antarctica will grow to be as tall as 2.5 ft. and its smallest, the rock hopper will grow to be approximately 12 inches tall.
All 15 chicks are under the watchful eye of the SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team, who monitor the chicks’ growth closely and provide routine feedings. Many of the chicks are currently residing behind-the-scenes in a penguin nursery until they fledge, which is the process of losing their baby down and growing their waterproof feathers. As the chicks become more comfortable within the nursery pool they will begin daily “fieldtrips” into the exhibit until they’re old enough to be with the colony.
And, starting this Wednesday, January 22, SeaWorld Orlando fans will have the chance to help name a Gentoo chick. You can cast a vote for your favorite name by visiting SeaWorld Orlando Facebook page.
Penguin lovers of the world can unite this weekend at SeaWorld Orlando during Wild Days Penguin Lover’s Weekend with SeaWorld Animal Ambassador Julie Scardina. In addition to hearing Julie’s lifelong love of animals and learning more about the parks’ commitment to wildlife conservation, guests will have the special chance to virtually dance like a penguin, walk side by side with a penguin colony, and star in shareable photo opportunities at the coolest “ice” block party at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.
On November 30, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed the first chick to hatch at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, the all-new attraction featuring a colony of more than 250 penguins from four species – king, Adelie, gentoo and rockhopper.
The nearly two-week-old king chick is now weighing in at 30 ounces (882 grams) and currently being raised by its parents with routine check-ups from the SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team who monitor the chick’s weight and overall development. Although small now, it will grow to be more than 24 pounds (11 kilograms) and over 2.5 feet tall. This chick is one of two king chicks that have hatched within the last two weeks with more expected within the coming weeks.
Caring for the king chick is a full-time job shared by mom and dad, and it starts before the penguin even hatches. Since king penguins don’t build nests, the female lays one egg and both parents share incubation duties by placing the egg on their feet. This is also how they carry the chick once it hatches. Guests may get a rare glimpse of the king chick during feedings.
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin transports guests into the icy world of the penguin like never before. Experience the mysterious land through the penguins’ eyes on a first-of-its-kind family ride, and then, connect with a colony above and below the water and be inspired to make a difference.
Be sure to check out the penguin cam, maybe you will catch a glimpse of the new chick!