Fun in Florida II

8 03 2015

IMG_1135My last day in Florida was spent at Busch Gardens Zoo, getting a behind-scene-tour from head elephant keeper Otto Fad (who I met at a workshop in Toronto a year or two ago).

They have some interesting ideas, including an animal hospital that’s effectively an exhibit (giant windows  and video images from the operating table allow the public to watch everything that happens), and intensive training regimes for many of the animals (I’d never seen captive lions looking so intelligent, alert and focussed …). It was great to see the results of this training put to good use, too, as one of the female elephants calmly presented her foot for an X-ray.

Pictured above is is Otto with Spike, a huge male Asian recent moved from Calgary after Jake closed the elephant exhibit there, and below, two suspicious but adorable cheetah cubs: two of a litter of four who’d ben removed for hand-rearing in case their first-time mother proved inadequate (not sure how I feel about this, but selfishly I did love getting that close to the cubs).