Not all the animals in our backyard at Wild Florida had the happiest beginnings. Quite a few of them have been neglected or even abused before coming to us. Did you know there’s over 41,000 endangered species on the IUCN Red List? Over 60 of those endangered species call Wild Florida home, and we’re committed to doing our part so they are no longer classified as endangered. Our animal keepers do everything they can to give our animals the true care they deserve...
You may be thinking, I have a dog. I know how demanding caring for an animal can be. But in our experience, wild animals are a bit more demanding than companion animals, and can sometimes be a lot to handle. Our keepers not only make sure these animals are living in a happy and healthy environment, but they also love and care for them as if they were their own children.
Interested in learning about what we do to ensure our animals receive the best care? Keep reading to find out!
The keepers begin their day walking through the Gator and Wildlife Park to take a head count. Are all the animals still safe and sound in their environments? Has anyone gotten sick over night? Are they all still getting along? After making sure all the animals had a good night’s rest, they begin preparing breakfast for the animals with AM diets. Certain animals eat more often than others or need to eat before others, so they’re all on a schedule that ensures everyone is fed on time everyday.
Our park is regularly inspected and approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which means it's a safe living environment for all of our animals. Although we meet the state regulations, we try to go above and beyond to make sure our animals have more than enough space to play around and explore.
Before we get new animals, we begin building their home. We do our research to know what their natural habitat is like. If you’ve ever been to our Florida Wildlife Park, you’ve probably noticed that George, Ana and the rest of the sloths live in a multi-platform environment all connected by ropes with plenty of trees. This is because they love to hang from branches, and this is how they feel most comfortable... Unlike our lemurs who are constantly jumping and playing around. We make sure the lemurs' environment has plenty of swings, climbing posts and holes for hiding. Aside from all of our exhibits being built to fit our animals, all exhibits also have wire on the ground to keep native Florida animals out and our animals safe inside.
When we adopt a new animal into the Wild Florida family – such as our new bobcat, Lady – we make sure they’re healthy and ready to interact with other animals. We begin this process by quarantining any new animals for up to a month or until they’re good to go. Then we do bloodwork to make sure they’re free of worms and diseases. We also want to make sure they’re not fearful of other animals. After they’re medically cleared, we slowly introduce them to the other animals by letting them smell each other, and we watch them eat to ensure everyone is getting enough food.
Our animal keepers make sure all of our animals are getting enough TLC throughout the day, but we also want to make sure we nurture our animals in ways that allow them to learn, grow and demonstrate natural behaviors. Animal enrichment toys not only excite and entertain them, but they also increase their physical and mental activity levels. Enrichment time is scheduled into all of the animal’s days, and is even a permanent part of their environments in the form of swings and climbing structures.
We love taking our guests out on airboat rides and ranch buggy tours, but we are dedicated to protecting and caring for our animals above all else. They're more than just our fuzzy friends... They're a part of the Wild Florida family!