Monday, March 9, 2015
Let's Head Back to Florida...
When Lion Country Safari first opened in 1967, it was the first drive-through safari park in the USA, and introduced the new concept of a "cageless zoo." It was developed to bring the experience of an African safari to the American family without the costly trip to Africa. Today the park is home to over 900 animals in the drive-through preserve and the exhibit area, most from Africa, but also some from South America and Asia.
Jambo! (Welcome!) First let's visit the drive-through safari area, which is divided into several sections, each named for areas of the world where the animals are native. Visitors are provided with a CD for commentary as they drive the four mile preserve, and are cautioned to remain in the vehicle at all times, with all windows closed. Most of the animals are roaming free, and one must remember, these are wild animals.. this is not Disney!! Are you ready?
In Las Pampas, (the grasslands), you will see the Aldabra Tortoise which can live up to 150 years, and have a shell of up to 5 feet in length; it is native to coastal islands near Madagascar.
The South American Rhea (above) which resembles an ostrich, is the fourth largest of all birds in the world today, and although it cannot fly, it can run at speeds of up to 30 m.p.h. Other animals seen in this area included llamas, storks, and tapirs.
Ruaha National Park is where you find the Greater Kudus of eastern and southern Africa. These are the second largest antelope.
Ostriches roam the area and they aren't the least bit shy, they will come right over to your vehicle, or walk down the middle of the road, with wings outstretched so you cannot get by. (We watched one sassy boy do this to an impatient driver.... very amusing.)
Scimitar-horned Oryx are extinct in the wild. There are currently plans underway to re-introduce this species to suitable secure protected areas and Lion Country Safari is involved in a study to help with future conservation breeding. I found their horns fascinating...aren't they a beautiful animal? We were fortunate to be there in the morning shortly after food had been put out at the feeding stations. That coupled with a long lens afforded me some decent photos....
Up next...lions, zebra, and giraffe...
I'm linking up with Mosaic Monday. Be sure to stop by host Judith's blog at Lavender Cottage to visit other Mosaic Monday participants.
"If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love." ~ Steve Irwin