Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Welcomes Baby Thomson's Gazelle


Busch Gardens’ hoof-stock care team is currently hand raising a baby female Thomson’s Gazelle. The baby weighed just over four pounds at birth on February 25. When the calf refused to take milk from its mother, the park’s animal care team started bottle-feeding the baby.  She is now receiving five bottle feedings each day and is weighed daily to monitor her health.  At  about four weeks old, she has already gained more than two pounds. Thomson’s Gazelle, also called “tommies,” are one of three migratory species that make up the vast Serengeti migration. Like the zebra and the wildebeest, the Tommie population can reach more than 500,000 per migration. This baby will remain in the park’s back area until she is healthy enough to join the herd of Thomson’s gazelles on the 65-acre Serengeti Plain. Guests can view the herd from Nairobi Walkway and get close-up views of the animals on the Serengeti Express Railway.


Photo credits: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Hand-rearing a Cheetah Cub

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Busch Gardens' animal care team has something new keeping them up at night -- a four-week-old baby cheetah that requires regular feedings and 24-hour care. The new cub was born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to a mother who wasn't able to care for him. When zoo keepers saw that the baby was not eating and having trouble gaining weight, they made the decision to hand-raise him at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Now, at a little more than two pounds, the cub is eating well, getting stronger and eagerly exploring his new home. Do NOT miss the video.

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Cheetah Kitten Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 3Photo credits: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Once he is old enough, he will join the group of cheetahs living in Cheetah Run, the innovative new habitat opening alongside the Cheetah Hunt launch coaster that will bring guests face to face with these agile predators. Upon reaching maturity, he may also become an important part of Busch Gardens’ plans for a cheetah breeding program that will help boost the population of these critically endangered animals.

Learn more below the fold.

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Leaping Lizards in L.A. and Tampa Bay

My rock! Baby Giant Horned Lizard at the LA ZooToday we bring you back-to-back reptile babies, which means half of our readership just got really excited and the other half just got an uninvited lunchtime surprise! Huge kudos to the L.A. Zoo for breeding the first ever Giant Horned Lizards to be successfully hatched at a North American zoo. “This clutch is a milestone event for the L.A. Zoo and zoos across the continent. These lizards will serve as ambassadors for their species and aid in the study of this species,” said Los Angeles Zoo Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Ian Recchio. When they first hatched, the lizards weighed about one gram and were roughly the size of a nickel. “Giant” is a relative term, so don’t expect them to grow too large; these fierce-looking lizards will reach a maximum length of about 10 inches when full grown, large for this family of lizards.

Fresh out of the egg Giant Horned Lizard hatchling says hello

King of the hill, horned lizard styleAbove photo credits: Tad Motoyama / L.A. Zoo

Though little is known about the giant horned lizard, they are one of the species that is able to squirt blood out of their eyes as a defense mechanism. While this is an interesting and unique trait, Recchio says “L.A. Zoo reptile keepers haven’t witnessed it first hand and that’s a good thing. When horned lizards perform this action it means they are under stress and feel threatened. Since the lizards haven’t displayed this behavior at the Zoo, it indicates they are comfortable in their environment here.”

Mexican Beaded LizardStay away from my stick! - Mexican Beaded Lizard at Busch Gardens Tampa BayPhoto credits immediately above and below: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Next we have a baby Mexican Beaded Lizard, one of only two species of venomous lizards in North America, hatched on January 16, 2011 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Beaded lizards have venom glands in their lower jaws that allow them to chew venom directly into their prey. There is no anti-venom to counteract a beaded lizard bite. Zoo staff named the new beaded lizard "Gaspar" to honor Tampa’s annual pirate festival Gasparilla, during which beads are tossed out from parade floats.

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Five Little Rhinos in Six Short Years

A baby White Rhinoceros was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay on July 13, the first calf born to mother Kisiri and the fifth calf born to father Tambo. Busch Gardens has celebrated a total of five white rhino births since October 2004, four of which are female. The new baby weighed an estimated 140 pounds at the time of the birth. The newborn – who has yet to be named – will gain approximately four pounds each day until it reaches an adult weight of approximately 3,500 to 4,000 pounds.

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Busch Gardens participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetic diversification among threatened and endangered animals in zoological facilities. The birth brings the total White and Black Rhino population at the park to 13.

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Photo credits: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Fluffy Flamingo Chicks at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Seven baby Caribbean Flamingos were hatched at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay between June 3rd and July 25th. The chicks are on display along with approximately 125 adult flamingos in the Bird Gardens area of the park. Newly hatched chicks are not pink, but in fact have gray or white down feathers. Their pink coloring comes from the carotenoid pigments they consume as part of their diet. They won’t lose all of their darker feathers for a few years. Flamingos have long resided at Busch Gardens. Their bright color and gentle nature have made them a favorite of park guests for many years.



Baby-flamingo-soloPhoto credits: Nick Gollattscheck / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Double the Giraffage at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay guests got their first look at two new baby reticulated giraffes this week as the babies were introduced to the rest of the herd on the Serengeti Plain for the first time. The first was born on April 6 and was the fourth calf for mother Tesa. The second was born April 24, and is the first calf for mother Chloe. Both are males sired by father Sterling.


Photo Credits: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

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Baby Lemurs Born at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed two endangered baby red-ruffed lemurs on April 21. The babies are the first lemurs to be born at Jambo Junction, home to the parks’ animal ambassadors, since parents Maditra and Bozeny arrived as babies three years ago.





Photo Credits: Courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The sex of the babies has yet to be determined, but they are developing well overall, according to trainers. They are getting braver each day, and exploring their habitat under the watchful eye of Mom and Dad. They currently weigh about 300 grams or a little more than half a pound; lemurs average about 80 grams, or .17 of a pound, at birth. They grow to be about 8 to 10 pounds.

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Back to Back Anteaters for Busch Gardens

Yesterday, we brought word of a brand new Tamandua (Lesser Anteater) at Busch Gardens' Discovery Cove, Orlando, Florida. There's another baby anteater (Giant Anteater) on the Busch Gardens block, this one at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Weighing about 3 pounds at birth, the little boy will ride on his mother's back for about four months until he is ready to walk, explore and find food on his own. Giant anteaters detect insects with their powerful sense of smell, which is 40 times stronger than a human's and allows them to find and eat up to 30,000 insects a day.




Photo by Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Gentle Rhino Nuzzling at Busch Gardens

Meet Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's newest little white rhino calf. Born this past Wednesday to mother Mlaleni and father Tambo, the baby girl is the third offspring of these busy parents since 2004. Even with skin that can reach a few centimeters thick, mother and baby bond with some muzzle to muzzle nuzzling. 

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Photo credits: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Tipping the scales at an estimated 100 lbs., this calf may some day reach nearly 8,000 lbs. After elephants, white rhinoceroses are the largest land animal with the record holder weighing in at 10,000 lbs.

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