Busch Gardens

UPDATE! Lion Cub Sisters at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Get Their Names

Cub trio 2

Florida's Busch Gardens Tampa recently welcomed three Lion cubs to the park, one male and two females (who are unrelated to the male), as previously covered HERE on ZooBorns. They can be identified by their size -- the two smaller cubs are the sisters, while the slightly larger cub is the male. After a week-long poll, 6,000 Busch Gardens Tampa Facebook fans voted to name the two Lion cub sisters. The winning picks for the three-month-old cubs are Shaba, meaning “brazen”, and Shtuko, meaning “twitch”.

Visitors can now see the antics of these three adorable Lion cubs at the zoo's Edge of Africa exhibit at various times throughout the day and week. All three cubs are very playful and love to run, chase, and stalk each other, as can be seen in the video at the bottom of this page. But after all that playtime, they are just as good at taking a cat nap!

Cub back

Cub in grass

Cub resting
Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Check out this great video of the cubs at play:

Help Name Busch Gardens Tampa's New Lion Cubs

Lion ball

A trio of Lion cubs are the most recent addition to Busch Gardens Tampa. They came all the way from South Africa, arriving on May 18. The two little sisters were born March 20; the male, who is not related to the females, was born Feb. 20. All three cubs have genetic lines from the Kalahari and Kruger regions of South Africa, where Lions are recognized for their large size and the males' impressive manes.

Now you can help name the sister cubs! Cast your vote HERE for your favorite of the two pairs of names they offer, now through Tuesday, June 18. There you can also view a clip of the cubs on The Today show.

Lion duo

Lion duo chew

Lion shy

Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The addition of the cubs comes as the result of a relationship between Busch Gardens and a private zoological facility in South Africa and enhances the sustainability of lions living in managed care in North America, as well as aids in the park’s breeding program. Lion populations are in sharp decline across Africa. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports several projects in Africa, which work to protect and preserve the species.

See more pictures after the fold:

Continue reading "Help Name Busch Gardens Tampa's New Lion Cubs" »

Endangered Tiger Cub Trio Born at Busch Gardens Tampa

Tigers CU

Three endangered Malayan Tiger cubs were born at Busch Gardens Tampa on March 31. The litter consists of two males and one female, each weighing between six and seven pounds. They are currently being monitored around the clock by the park’s animal care team. These newborn cubs will add to the genetic diversity of the Malayan Tiger population and contribute to conservation efforts for the species. Malayan Tigers are Critically Endangered. Scientists estimate that only 500 remain in the wild. 

Malayan Tiger cub births in managed care are rare – just one successful birth in 2012 as part of the SSP. These are the first born at Busch Gardens Tampa and the first offspring for both the mother Bzui and father Mata. The cubs, along with their parents, are currently behind the scenes and are being monitored around the clock by the park’s animal care team.

Tiger nurse

Tiger play
Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa

The births are part of park’s partnership 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. There are currently just over 50 Malayan Tigers in the Species Survival Plan.

Read much more about the cubs after the fold:

Continue reading "Endangered Tiger Cub Trio Born at Busch Gardens Tampa " »

Busch Gardens' Baby Aardvark Heads out for a Stroll

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Sporting a wrinkly pink birthday-suit (standard issue for a baby Aardvark), Busch Gardens Tampa Bay's newest resident took one of its first outdoor strolls yesterday. The cub, whose sex is still unknown, is the third for prolific mother and father, Izzy and Frtiz. Sister, Adazee, and brother, Zawadi, were both featured on ZooBorns when they were born in March 2012 and April 2011 respectively. The cub is primarily being cared for by its mother but Busch Gardens' staff are also providing a bit of support as adult Aardvarks have a reputation for clumsy parenting. 

Powerful diggers, Aardvarks can slurp up tens of thousands ants or termites in a single night and grow up to 120lbs or more. Follow the cub's progress on Busch Gardens' blog.

Busch Gardens Aardvark 4

Busch Gardens Aardvark 1.jpgPhoto credits (above): Adam Lewis / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

(Below) Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Big Sister Aardvark Adazee (more here)

Busch Gardens Aardvark Adazee

Big Brother Aardvark Zawadi (more here)

Busch Gardens Aardvark Zawadi

Busch Gardens Aardvark Zawadi 2

Busch Gardens Welcomes Baby White Rhino

Rhino mom CU

On October 23, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a baby White Rhinoceros. The female Rhino, who has yet to be named, was born at the 26-acre White Rhino habitat on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain. This is the second calf born to mother Kisiri and the seventh for father Tambo. She weighed an estimated 140 pounds at the time of the birth, and will gain approximately four pounds each day until she reaches an adult weight of approximately 3,500 to 4,000 pounds.

Fewer than 15,000 white rhinos remain in the wild, and approximately 200 live in zoological facilities across North America. 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.  Busch Gardens has celebrated a total of seven White Rhino births since October 2004, and this birth brings the total white and black rhino population there to eight.

Kisiri, Tambo and another female white rhino were airlifted from Kruger National Park in South Africa in 2001 through the efforts of the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of rhinos. 

Rhino nurse

Rhino side

Rhino shy

Rhino 1

Photo Credits: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Meet Louis, the Hungry Little Kangaroo Joey at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

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The newest Kangaroo joey at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, was recently named Louis by his keepers. He currently weighs less than 10 pounds and spends most of his day in the pouch of his mother, Lulu. When he becomes confident enough to spend the majority of his day outside of the pouch, he will join the kangaroo mob at Walkabout Way. These babies are all currently being raised by their parents in private areas and they will soon be welcomed to guest viewing areas around the park.

Kangaroo babies are "born" months before they look like this. After a gestation of only 30-35 days in a hairless, underdeveloped state and find their way into mom's pouch where they continue to grow and nurse for about 10 months before they begin to leave it's safety for short periods. They may hop out but return there until they are fully weaned - at about 13 months.  

Nurse 1

Joey profile

Joey face

Photo Credit:Busch Gardens

Baby Armadillo the Size of a Tennis Ball

Baby Armadillo at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 1

Look what just rolled into Busch Gardens Tampa - a tiny Three Banded Armadillo born to proud armadillo parents Zowie and Ollie. Born June 21, the baby was the size of a golf ball, now a month later he has grown to be the size of a tennis ball. When full grown adult Three Banded Armadillo’s are roughly the size of a softball. The youngster can be seen in Jambo Junction. 

Baby Armadillo at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay 2

Below: Baby and mom, Zowie, enjoy some outdoor romping in the grass. 

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Some fun armadillo facts courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa.

  • The gestation period for a Three Banded Armadillo is just 120 days!
  • The young will nurse for about 72 days before being weaned.
  • Baby armadillos are born blind but quickly develop the ability to walk and close their shell.
  • After 72 days baby armadillos are no longer dependent on mom and will go out on their own.

Hang On! It's a New Baby Anteater for Busch Gardens


A baby Anteater was born in June at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Keepers are not yet sure if the little one is male or female but once they are able to identify the gender, it will be named. Just over a month old, the pup currently weighs less than 5 pounds (2.26 kg) but will grow up to weigh more than 100 pounds (45 kg) -- just like its parents, Adelhi (mother) and Buddy (father).

Anteater babies nurse for six months and are carried on their mothers’ backs for up to a year. The baby is born with a full coat of fur and its color, texture and pattern almost completely blends in; by these means it's protected from predators. Once an adult, this newborn will use its 4-inch-long (10 cm) claws to open termite mounds. There its 2-foot-long (.60 m) tongue will come in handy, extending up to 150 times a minute to eat as many as 35,000 termites and ants per day!

Giant Anteaters are called so because they are the largest of the Anteater family. Found in the grasslands and lowland tropical forests in Central and South America, they are listed as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN due to loss of that habitat, and hunting. Only 5,000 animals estimated to remain in the wild. 



Photo Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa

Double Mongoose Lemur Trouble At Busch Gardens


Earlier this month, Busch Gardens witnessed an uncommon event: the birth of Mongoose Lemur twins. On Friday, April 6, the two babies were born to 17-year-old mother Rosalita and 18-year-old father Guillermo. Rosalita’s first baby – a male named Duggan – was also born at Busch Gardens and moved to another zoo for breeding. Mongoose Lemurs are classified as a “vulnerable” species, and Busch Gardens takes part in Species Survival Plans (SSP) initiated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to cooperatively manage breeding programs for threatened or endangered species in accredited institutions. 

Busch Gardens zoo staff aren’t yet sure if the new babies are male or female. All baby Mongoose Lemurs look the same at birth, but around 6-8 months of age, males start to change color and develop their red “beard” and cheeks. Females have a darker face and white beard. 

Look closely in the pictures below to spot the babies tucked under mom's leg!



Photo credit: Matt Marriott / Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

The Mongoose Lemur, like all Lemurs, is indigenous to the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, but they are one of only two species of Lemur to also live in an area outside the island: Mongoose Lemurs can be found on the Comoros Islands between Madagascar and Africa.

A Bond To Last A Lifetime, One Year Later

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Who can forget Kasi, Busch Gardens' Cheetah Cub born January 17th 2011, and his playpal Mtani, the Labrador Retriever puppy? For readers who've never met the dynamic duo, Kasi was paired with Mtani in order to help him get accustomed to socializing with other animals. “Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions,” explained animal curator Tim Smith. “This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life."

Monday, April 16 marked the one-year anniversary of the first time park guests got to see an 8-week-old male cheetah cub and a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador puppy start to strike up a friendship that the park’s animal experts expect to last a lifetime. Now, a year later, they live together full time at the park’s Cheetah Run habitat and even travel together to schools, events and television studios, helping the park’s education team teach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild and the importance of Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts.



Photo credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay


Learn more about the pair's anniversary beneath the fold...

Continue reading "A Bond To Last A Lifetime, One Year Later" »