Busch Gardens Welcomes Baby Rhino

A female southern white rhinoceros calf was born at Busch Gardens® Tampa October 16. The calf is healthy and is currently being cared for by mom with the Busch Gardens animal care team watching closely.

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Newborn white rhinoceros usually weigh about 150 pounds and can gain four pounds every day for the first year. White rhinos are the second largest land mammal after the elephant, and can weigh as much as 5,000 pounds when fully grown.

The southern white rhinoceros is classified as a near-threatened species with just over 20,000 left in the wild, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Kisiri is an experienced mother. She has had two successful births previously.  The father, Tambo, has been very attentive to, and gentle with, his previous calves and the zoological team expects him to behave similarly with this calf.

Multiple cameras were installed around the birthing area, allowing caretakers to keep an even closer eye on mom Kisiri and record the calf’s first moments. Fans can watch the video online here.

Kisiri and her calf are continuing to be monitored by the animal care staff in the birthing area and are expected to join the rest of the southern white rhinoceros herd on the Serengeti Plain in a few weeks. Guests can try to catch a glimpse of mom and her calf by booking a Serengeti Safari.

Kisiri’s calf 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 species populations within AZA-accredited facilities.

The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has granted more than half a million dollars to specifically help rhino conservation and more than $11 million to conservation projects around the world since its inception in 2003. The Fund was created by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable foundation dedicated to supporting environmental initiatives, wildlife conservation and animal rescue.

Be the first to know updates about the calf by following the park’s blog at BuschGardensTampaBlog.com or “Like” the Busch Gardens Facebook page and follow @buschgardens on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Busch Gardens is owned and operated 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 collectively cares for one of the largest animal collections on the North American continent and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations.

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Busch Gardens Expecting Baby White Rhino

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In celebration of World Rhino Day on Tuesday, Sept. 22, Busch Gardens® Tampa had big news to celebrate. Kisiri, an 18-year old southern white rhinoceros, is expected to give birth to her third calf within the next few weeks.

Kisiri has had two successful births already, Jasiri in 2012, and Zohari in 2010. Tambo, a male southern white rhinoceros at Busch Gardens, is the sire of the calf, as well as Jasiri and Zohari.

Southern white rhinos are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as a near threatened species. They are native to eastern and southern Africa. These massive animals can stand more than 6 feet at the shoulder, weigh as much as 5,000 pounds and live to be 45 or older. The gestation period for white rhinos is approximately 16 months.

Busch Gardens Tampa will celebrate World Rhino Day Sept. 19, allowing park guests to learn about all five rhinoceros species including the critically endangered black rhinoceros and northern white rhinoceros and the threats all rhinos face in the wild. Guests also can help create a large paper-mache globe that will be given to the rhinos as enrichment later in the day.

Kisiri’s pregnancy 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 species populations within AZA-accredited facilities.

Busch Gardens is owned and operated 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 collectively cares for one of the largest animal collections on the North American continent and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations.

Be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog at BuschGardensTampaBlog.com, or “Like” the Busch Gardens Facebook page and follow @buschgardens on Twitter and Instagram.

Extra Special Hotels in Connecticut, Vermont and Virginia Welcome Furry Pals

Traveling can be hard when there are dogs at home. Worries about unreliable sitters, elderly canine pals on medications, and worst of all, who hasn’t had their heart broken as the door closes, the dog staring sadly out the window? The solution to these problems is simple with the dog-friendly rooms, suites and cottages at three top east coast properties, including: Winvian Farm in Morris, CT; The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange, VA; and 506 On the River Inn in Woodstock, VT.

506 On the River Inn located in the historic town of Woodstock (VT, not NY!) announced its grand opening this summer with 40 upscale rooms that include two designated as dog-friendly. The rooms are outfitted with dog treats and doggy bags and an optional plush pet bed. Both rooms are on the ground level for easy access to the property’s six acres of meadows. Nearby 506 are many hiking trails to explore and the Ottauquechee River, which flows just behind the hotel, is ideal for splashing about. For more information or to book a stay, visit www.ontheriverwoodstock.com.

For those seeking a more southern New England destination, Winvian Farm in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut features 18 designer dwellings, three of which are pet- friendly, including Stone Cottage, Greenhouse Cottage and Connecticut Yankee Cottage. Dog beds, food and water bowls and crates are available upon request and a special tennis ball welcome gift greets each pup at check-in. For more information or to book a stay, visit www.winvian.com.

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is The Inn at Willow Grove, a former 18th century plantation which was transformed into a luxury hotel in 2010. Here, guests and their four legged friend may enjoy two suites in the Overlook East and West cottages. Amenities for dogs include a comfy bed, doggie treats, and food and water bowls. For more information or to book a stay visit http://innatwillowgrove.com

So the next time Rover may be left behind, reserve a room at 506 On The River Inn, Winvian Farm or The Inn at Willow Grove: beautiful properties that are guaranteed to be a home away from home for humans and canines!

Extremely Rare and Endangered Manatee Twins born in Crystal River, Florida

Citrus County Visitors & Convention Bureau and United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) officials today announced rare manatee twins have been spotted in the crystal blue waters of Homosassa Springs. Florida manatees are listed as endangered and only 2% of all manatee births result in twins.

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“In the past 10 years, maybe I’ve spotted a dozen set of twins but never once have I seen them in the springs nor have I seen a mother and her calves quite so visible in Homosassa waters,” said Ivan Vicente, Visitor Services Specialist, FWS. “That’s because nursing mothers usually isolate themselves in low trafficked areas to keep the calves protected from mainly people, only this time they aren’t as isolated.”

Vicente predicts the mother will remain in the protective springs of Homosassa for the next few weeks until she feels confident enough to introduce her calves along the coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico.

Florida’s state marine mammal, Florida manatees are large, fully aquatic, herbivorous relatives of the elephant. Commonly referred to as sea cows, manatees have paddle-like flippers, measure up to 13-ft. long, weigh as much as 1,300 pounds and may live up to 80 years in the wild. On average, one calf is born to one manatee every two to five years making twins all the more rare. And only one in 50 births results in twins.

“While the winter months draw the largest number of manatees to Crystal River, manatee spotting in the summertime is particularly special because that’s when you can see–and actually swim–with the babies,” said Adam Thomas, Director, Citrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Citrus County is the only place in the United States where you can legally get in the water and swim with the manatees in the winter months and words truly can not express how amazing it is to be graced by one of these gentle giants—especially when you see twins swimming alongside Mom.”

Florida manatees are federally protected and remain on the endangered species list. According to FWS, there are less than 6,000 in and around the state of Florida. For more information on swimming with the manatees in Citrus County, visit www.visitcitrus.com.

Big Cat Habitat receives Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

TripAdvisor® has awarded a 2015 Certificate of Excellence to Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, a nonprofit safe haven for big cats, bears and other animals in need.

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Certificates of Excellence are given to accommodations, restaurants, and attractions listed on TripAdvisor that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on the site, according to TripAdvisor. Big Cat Habitat opens its animal sanctuary to visitors who can view the animals up close and attend two educational and entertaining animal demonstrations, said Kay Rosaire, founder of Big Cat Habitat. Admission fees are used for the care and enrichment of the animals, Rosaire said.

According to TripAdvisor, a proprietary algorithm determines the honorees and takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travelers over a 12-month period as well as a business’s tenure and ranking on the site’s Popularity index. To qualify for the award, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must be listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

Big Cat Habitat is at 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. More information is available at by calling 941-371-6377941-371-6377, by visiting www.BigCatHabitat.org, or by connecting on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BigCatHabitat.

Baby Wildebeest Born at Busch Gardens

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Busch Gardens® Tampa recently welcomed a baby white-bearded wildebeest to the more than 12,000 animals that call the park home. The male calf was born on the morning of July 7 on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain and weighed approximately 40 pounds.

The gestation period for wildebeest is between 8-9 months and wildebeest calves can stand and run within 3-7 minutes after birth. Additionally, calves will nurse for most of the first year and will follow their mothers as they move with the herd.

White-bearded wildebeest are native to Kenya and Tanzania in eastern Africa, and adults can weigh as much as 600 pounds for males and 500 pounds for females. Busch Gardens’ guests can see the baby, along with the rest of the wildebeest herd, by booking a Serengeti Safari or by taking a ride on the Serengeti Express Railway.

Visit buschgardens.com for more information. Plus, be the first to know about new events, special deals and future announcements by following the park’s blog at BuschGardensTampaBlog.com, or “like” the Busch Gardens Facebook page, and follow @buschgardens on Twitter and Instagram.

Wild Florida receives prestigious award from Florida Department of Education and Osceola County School District

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Wild Florida, the family-owned and operated airboat company and wildlife park, has just been selected by the Osceola County School District, the Florida Education Foundation and the Florida Department of Education to receive the coveted Commissioner’s Business Recognition Award (CBRA).

The Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards (CBRA) recognizes businesses around the state of Florida that have shown the most commitment, creativity and innovation in bringing about positive change to school and school districts. The honorees are selected by each school district, based on the significant impact the business partnership had on the students in a particular K_12 public school district.

“Wild Florida understands the importance of teaching our youth that ‘Wild Florida’ still exists and that they have a responsibility to enjoy and protect it,” said Judy Alexander, Partners in Education Specialist, Osceola County School District.

“The Osceola School District is extremely proud to partner with Wild Florida.”

Wild Florida spends approximately 12 hours per week conducting in-class nature tutorials and out-of-class ecological field trips at the Wild Florida campus located on the Headwaters of the Everglades. In addition, Wild Florida has donated more than 10 thousand dollars for school incentive programs and one thousand dollars to purchase school supplies, food and clothing to more than 20 schools in the Osceola School District. Finally, Wild Florida hosts the Osceola School District’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Day event, where approximately 1,000 school volunteers are recognized and thanked for their service to teachers and students.

“By proactively promoting Central Florida’s natural resources, we believe we can create a culture of respect and preservation among our youth that will have a positive impact on Florida’s future,” said Jordan Munns, owner, Wild Florida Airboat & Wildlife Park.

Wild Florida is located at 3301 Lake Cypress Rd., Kenansville, Fla. 34739. For more information about Wild Florida Airboat & Wildlife Park, please call Candice Coleman, Director of Public Relations, at 314-606-1167314-606-1167. For more information about the CBRA, please contact Judy Alexander at 407-870-4014407-870-4014, extension 66254.