Baby White Rhinoceros at Busch Gardens

Baby white rhino at Busch Gardens

A rare white rhino was born at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay under the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a female baby white rhinoceros on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. The baby is the second calf born to mother Kisiri and the seventh calf born to father Tambo. Busch Gardens has celebrated a total of seven white rhino births since October 2004. The new baby weighed an estimated 140 pounds at 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.

Baby white rhino

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 adventure park 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. Fewer than 15,000 white rhinos remain in the wild, and approximately 200 live in zoological facilities across North America.

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Mongoose Lemur Twins at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens Tampa welcomed a pair of mongoose lemur twins earlier this month! The babies were born to mother Rosalita and father Guillermo. The gender of the new babies has not yet been determined. However, around 6-8 months, mongoose lemurs develop distinguishing characteristics based on their sex. Males start to change color and will grow a red “beard.” Females develop a white beard and have a darker face.

In the wild, mongoose lemurs are considered vulnerable of extinction. They inhabit the island of Madagascar, the native habitat of all species of lemurs. But they are unique in that they are one of two species also found outside of Madagascar, specifically on the Comoros Islands, which are located between Madagascar and Africa.

Mongoose lemur and baby

Rosalita and one of her twins.

Mongoose lemur baby

New arrival: Mongoose lemur baby

Mongoose lemurs

Proud parents Rosalita and Guillermo. Did you know that mongoose lemurs make oinking sounds similar to pigs?

(Photos by Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay)


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Baby Aardvark at Busch Gardens

On March 26, Busch Gardens welcomed a new baby aardvark!  The newborn currently weighs 4.8 pounds, but it is estimated to grow more than 120 pounds within its first year.   The baby is being cared for by the animal care team behind the scenes at Jambo Junction.  Check back at Busch Gardens’ Facebook page to find out when the little aardvark will make its public debut.

Baby aardvark at Busch Gardens

Baby aardvark at Busch Gardens

In the wild, aardvarks are solitary and elusive. They inhabit various ecosystems south of the Sahara in Africa, and they feed mainly on ants and termites.  They are adept diggers, capturing their prey underground and creating burrows to rest in during the day.  Because other animals use these burrows for shelter, the aardvark is considered a keystone species.

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Bret Michaels Meets Harry the Sloth

Singer and reality TV star Bret Michaels had a photo op with Busch Gardens’ own “hair rocker,” Harry the sloth, on Sunday at the Bands, Brew & BBQ festival. Harry, a two-toed sloth, is the most popular member of Busch Gardens’ Animal Ambassadors team.

Bret Michaels and Harry the sloth

In the wild, sloths inhabit the rainforests of Central and South America.  They have a symbiotic relationship with algae, which grows on their fur. The green tint of the algae helps camouflage the sloths among the trees.


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Baby Giraffe at Busch Gardens

The first baby giraffe of 2012 was born at Busch Gardens. The female giraffe calf measures 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 176 pounds. She and her mother are currently being monitored by zoo staff. They will rejoin the herd in three months.

Baby giraffe at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens welcomed a new female giraffe to their herd.

Baby giraffe and mother at Busch Gardens

Slurp! The newborn giraffe gets a nice cleaning by her mother.

Baby giraffe and mother

Just a newborn, the female giraffe measures 6 feet 2 inches tall!

To learn more about giraffes, see Animal Fact Guide’s article: Giraffe.

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Baby Giraffe at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

A new female baby giraffe arrived on Tuesday, December 27 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The newborn measures 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 127 pounds. She was born to father Jafari and mother Tesa.  Tesa and the calf will be monitored for three months before joining the other free-roaming animals on Busch Gardens’ 65-acre Serengeti Plain habitat.

Baby giraffe at Busch Gardens

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Cheetah, Cheetah, Pumpkin Eatah!

Ok, so cheetahs don’t actually eat pumpkins. (They are strict carnivores.) But the zookeepers at Busch Gardens provided some pumpkins for the cheetahs to investigate for some Halloween-themed fun.  New sights and smells provide enrichment to animals, keeping them engaged and stimulated.

Remember the cheetah cub Kasi and his puppy friend Mtani?  Here they are together all grown up!

Cheetah and yellow lab looking at pumpkins

Kasi joins Mtani to look at pumpkins.

Cheetah and yellow lab investigating pumpkins

Kasi and Mtani sniff the pumpkins.

Cheetahs investigating pumpkins

More cheetahs examining the pumpkins.

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Baby Eland Antelope at Busch Gardens

Eland calf at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay

A female eland antelope calf was born Monday at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay.  The calf weighs 50 pounds currently but will eventually grow to be around 1000 pounds as an adult. Eland are the largest of the antelope species.

Eland can jump 8-10 feet in the air.  At around 2 years old, eland grow thick, spiraling horns that can reach 3-4 feet long.

In the wild, eland inhabit savannah woodlands of southern Africa. They are not considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN Redlist.

Eland calf at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay

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Baby Aardvark at Busch Gardens

Baby aardvark at Busch Gardens

A baby aardvark born April 10 made his public debut April 29 at the Jambo Junction in Busch Gardens. Photo provided by Busch Gardens.

On April 10th, a male baby aardvark was born at Busch Gardens, Tampa.  Visitors can sneak a peak at the new cub at Jambo Junction, located in the Nairobi section of the park.

In the wild, aardvarks are solitary and quite elusive.  But their range spans all of Africa south of the Sahara, and they are listed a species of least concern of becoming endangered by the IUCN Redlist.  They eat ants and termites.

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Baby Cheetah and Puppy Become Pals


Starting today guests at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida will get to see an unlikely pair – a cheetah cub and a yellow Labrador puppy. The 8-week-old cheetah was taken in last month because his mother was unable to care for him. Last week the animal care team decided on the 16-week-old puppy as a companion. The two will live together in Jambo Junction, a part of the Nairobi area of the park.

The park has opened a poll on their Facebook page to allow voting on what to the name the pair. Voting ends on Monday, April 18.

UPDATE: The cheetah cub has been named Kasi, which is Swahili for “one with speed.”

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