Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mexican Beaded Lizard Hatched at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

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. The hatchling can be viewed at Jambo Junction until it reaches adult maturity, and then it will join the adventure park’s four other beaded lizards in Curiosity Caverns.
Photo Credit: Matt Marriott/Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oldest elephant in North America dies at age 71 at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

More sad news out of the animal world today. Taj, the oldest elephant in North America, has died at age 71 at a California theme park, after years of performing for crowds and painting on canvas. Taj far surpassed the 45-year average life expectancy for Asian elephants, Nancy Chan, a spokeswoman for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom -- where the animal lived in the Northern California city of Vallejo -- said on Tuesday.

Read more from Reuters.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Disney's Animal Kingdom: Wild Africa Trek

If you want to see more about the new Wild Africa Trek attraction, make the jump over to Laughing Place to catch their detailed photo rundown of what takes place.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Trainer crushed by elephant at Tennessee zoo

Sad news out of the Tennessee today. An 8,000-pound elephant at a Tennessee zoo backed a trainer into a wall and crushed her to death, and the zoo said on Saturday it had temporarily closed its elephant exhibit. The trainer was taken to nearby University of Tennessee Medical Center, where she died Friday of internal injuries. Rolen said Edie, one of three zoo elephants, will not be punished or disciplined in any way. "Our training program is based on positive reinforcement," she said. The zoo was open on Saturday but the elephant display was closed. Our thoughts and prayers go out everyone involved in this tragic event.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Columbus Zoo Map from 2000

I've got a fun little nugget for you readers today! I unearthed an overhead park map of the Columbus Zoo from over a decade ago, 2000. Much has changed since then and it is amazing to see. It's hard to believe that the African forest section was still under construction. Asia Quest is missing along with the islands of Southeast Asia. Cheetahs were still present at the zoo. I'm looking forward to what the next ten years hold for the Columbus Zoo! The future is bright indeed!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Georgia Aquarium Acquires Marineland

We start the new year off with this news item:

Georgia Aquarium announced today its acquisition of historic Florida attraction Marineland, home to the Dolphin Conservation Center and adjacent to Georgia Aquarium's Dolphin Conservation Field Station.

Marineland, which is located along the Atlantic coast just south of St. Augustine, Florida, opened in 1937 as Marine Studios, a facility designed and built for filming underwater sequences for motion pictures. Later, it became a theme park known as Marineland of Florida, and enjoyed great popularity in the 1950's and 1960's, becoming internationally known for its dolphin shows and exhibits showcasing various forms of marine life.  It was one of the first such attractions in the state of Florida and was named to the National Register of Historic Places. More recently, an updated and modernized Dolphin Conservation Center at Marineland has become a center for the study of marine mammals, particularly dolphins, and is one of the few facilities in the U.S. where humans can closely observe and interact with dolphins in an intimate environment.   

The acquisition of Marineland is part of an overall long-term strategy on behalf of Georgia Aquarium to expand the positive benefits of its programs throughout the Southeastern U.S.  In 2008, Georgia Aquarium opened the Dolphin Conservation Field Station (DCFS) at Marineland, a joint venture with Marineland's Dolphin Conservation Center, immediately adjacent to the historic Marineland property. Among other initiatives, DCFS is dedicated to studying marine animals off the coast of Georgia and northeast Florida and rescuing and rehabilitating stranded animals.  Now under the same ownership and direction, DCFS and the Dolphin Conservation Center at Marineland are expected to align even more closely in the future.

Georgia Aquarium and Marineland share a long history of working closely together for the benefit of marine mammals, and the Aquarium and its team members have a deep and abiding appreciation for Marineland and the significance of its heritage as one of Florida's original coastal attractions.

"We are excited to expand Georgia Aquarium's positive influence through the addition of the historic Marineland property and its Dolphin Conservation Center," said David Kimmel, President and COO of the Georgia Aquarium.  "Marineland's modern-day incarnation, with its focus on conservation of dolphins and marine mammals, is an amazing addition to our family – in fact , it is a perfect complement to the existing education, conservation and research programs currently offered and conducted by the Georgia Aquarium.  Institutions like Georgia Aquarium would not even exist if Marineland and others of its kind had not created an awareness and understanding of aquatic animals generations ago." 

While Marineland will be operated as a division of the Georgia Aquarium, no significant change in its day-to-day operations is expected in the immediate future.  However, Aquarium representatives are already working with Marineland staffers to consider long-range plans for the Marineland property and will work closely with area leaders to ensure its long-term viability as both a public attraction and a center for aquatic animal research and conservation.

Georgia Aquarium annual pass members will enjoy free admission to Marineland, and the Aquarium hopes to announce additional special benefits and offers in the near future. 

Learn more about Marineland and how to book your dolphin experience today.