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Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Busch Gardens Tampa’s Famous Cheetah Cub Visits the Animal Care Center for His First Annual Exam

TAMPA, Fla. (April 19, 2012) – Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s famous cheetah cub, Kasi, visited the park’s new Animal Care Center today for his one-year check-up.

The 90-minute routine procedure included cleaning Kasi’s teeth, taking X-rays and using an endoscope to check out and take biopsies along his digestive tract. Kasi was under anesthetic during the procedure, and by early afternoon was awake and resuming his normal afternoon activities in his bedroom at the Cheetah Run habitat.

Kasi turned one year old in February, and recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of his relationship with his puppy pal, Mtani the yellow lab. During Kasi’s check-up, Mtani and her handlers watched from the guest side of the Animal Care Center’s Examination Room viewing window.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Baby Cheetah and Puppy Pal Celebrate First Anniversary Together

Young Cat and Yellow Lab Made Their Public Debut on April 16, 2011

This week, Busch Gardens Tampa is celebrating a milestone anniversary for a very special relationship. Monday, April 16 marked the one-year anniversary of the first time park guests got to see an 8-week-old male cheetah cub and a 16-week-old female yellow Labrador puppy start to strike up a friendship that the park’s animal experts expect to last a lifetime.

The pair – later named Kasi and Mtani by park fans via a Facebook poll – spent only supervised play times together at first. Now, a year later, they live together full time at the park’s Cheetah Run habitat and even travel together to schools, events and television studios, helping the park’s education team teach the public about the plight of cheetahs in the wild and the importance of Busch Gardens’ conservation efforts.

Park guest can see Kasi and Mtani daily at Cheetah Run, where they spend a portion of each day playing together on the habitat, training with their keepers and exercising with the habitat’s lure system, designed to encourage the animals to do what cheetahs (and Mtani, too!) do best: run and chase.

Although this is Busch Gardens’ first cub-and-puppy combo, it is not uncommon in the zoological community for a single cheetah to be raised with a canine companion. “Male cheetahs are social and often live together in coalitions,” said Tim Smith, a zoo manager who works with the cheetah team daily. “This social bond will be a very similar relationship, and they will be together for life.”

Cheetahs are included on both the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of vulnerable species as well as on the US Endangered Species Act list of threatened species. Only approximately 12,400 cheetahs remain in the wild.

Busch Gardens supports the conservation of and education about cheetahs through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund, which has donated nearly $100,000 to cheetah efforts in Africa since 2005 and also helps fund conservation programs for white rhinos, marine animals and many other species around the world.


CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 17, 2012) – Not only are guests entering LEGOLAND® California Resort getting a sneak peek at the construction of the nation’s first LEGOLAND® Hotel, but now anyone can watch from the comfort of their own home just by logging onto Powered by, the site shows two different angles of the 250-room hotel under construction from sun up to sun down, and gives viewers the ability to watch time lapse footage, compare days and zoom in and out of the site.

R.D. Olson Construction, the General Contractor hired to build LEGOLAND Hotel, installed the cameras in mid-December after the grading began and will keep the cameras on until the Hotel opens in summer 2013.

The three-story LEGOLAND Hotel is being designed to give guests the interactive family experience that has brought success to LEGOLAND California, SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Water Park. Created to bring children’s imaginations to life, the LEGO® themed hotel will feature brightly colored, interactive LEGO d├ęcor, a pool and lounge area, patio, event space and buffet restaurant. LEGOLAND Hotel will be the first of its kind in North America and is designed for families with young children and will feature rooms and suites themed after the most popular LEGOLAND areas: Pirate, Kingdom and Adventure. To see examples of the three themes, receive the most recent updates on the Hotel and be the first to know when reservations are open, visit

Jackie Greene Live in Concert on August 18

Sacramento favorite Jackie Greene will return to Fairytale Town for a fourth annual benefit concert on Saturday, August 18. Taking place on the park's Mother Goose Stage, the outdoor concert supports Fairytale Town's education programs and park improvements. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 8 p.m.

Tickets will go on sale June 1 at Concert tickets are $25 when purchased in June; $30 in July; and $35 in August, while supplies last.

Seating will be intimate and limited, similar to an outdoor music festival. Blankets are encouraged; low stadium-style chairs with legs 10-inches tall or less will be permitted. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. Outside food or beverages, including ice chests or picnic baskets, will not be admitted. Complete concert rules and restrictions are listed at

Greene has a reputation for putting on an energetic live show and has earned the respect of critics and musicians across the country. He has recorded seven albums of original work and recently released a book of lyrics. He has also been involved in many high-profile side projects and toured with well known musicians such as B.B. King, The Black Crowes, Willie Nelson, Huey Lewis and more. His music has been featured on many television shows including "Nurse Jackie" and "One Tree Hill."

For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.

Rare Leopards Pounce onto the Scene at San Diego Zoo

One of the world's most endangered cats leapt onto the scene for the first time in the San Diego Zoo's history. Three 11-month-old Amur leopards have not stopped pouncing, running and playing, except for cat naps, since they made their debut over the weekend.

     The siblings, two males, named Kushka and Primorye, and their sister, Zeya, arrived at the San Diego Zoo as part of an international conservation program aimed at saving this critically endangered species. Less than 40 Amur leopards have been documented in the wilds of the Primorye region of the Russian Far East. A few cats may cross the border into China. They were once found in northeastern China, Russia and the Korean peninsula but have been decimated by loss of habitat and poaching for their thick, spotted coats.

     Zoos around the world started a collaborative program to breed this species. Today, there are 300 Amur leopards in zoos in Europe, Russia and North America. Zoos in the United States have stepped up efforts to protect this species and are expanding their breeding programs. The trio that now lives at the San Diego Zoo may find new homes in the future as part of the breeding programs. The siblings arrived in San Diego from the Exotic Feline Breeding Compounds Feline Conservation Center in Rosamond, Calif.

     The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM and Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Fairytale Town Showcases Animals & Agriculture at Fifth Annual Farms, Friends & Fairytales on May 19

Farmer Brown will showcase Fairytale Town's friendly barnyard animals at the fifth annual Farms, Friends and Fairytales program on Saturday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This celebration of all-things agriculture features live sheep shearing, wool spinning, a mini-farmer's market, hands-on art activities and more fun for the whole family.

The highlight of the event will be a live old-fashioned sheep shearing. Fairytale Town's twin Babydoll sheep, Reading and Writing, will be sheared, and their wool will then be spun into yarn on a spinning wheel. Children and parents will also learn about the daily lives of some of Fairytale Town's rare and miniature animals.

Multiple agriculture-themed hands-on art activities will be stationed throughout the park. Children will also learn how to make their own ice cream. Plus, local area farms and organizations will be on hand to share their experience bringing agricultural products to market.

 "Most urban children do not have the chance to see live farm animals," said Kathy Fleming, Fairytale Town's executive director. "Fairytale Town is a unique environment where children can learn how animals contribute to society as well as represent the fairytales children know so well."

This program is made possible in part by generous sponsorships from Whole Foods Market and Farm Fresh to You. For more information, visit or call (916) 808-7462.
Event Details

What:  Farms, Friends & Fairytales

When:  Saturday, May 19, 2012

Time:  11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Park hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (weather permitting) 

Cost:  Free with paid park admission: $5 weekends and holidays, children 1 and under are free

Where:  Fairytale Town, 3901 Land Park Drive, Sacramento CA 95822

Phone:  (916) 808-7462


San Diego Zoo Safari Park Celebrates History of Conservation with 40th Birthday Activities

   In May 1972, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park opened to the public, offering guests a chance to see animals in a new style of zoo - featuring large, open spaces and herds of animals.  Since its founding, the Safari Park has been heavily involved in the preservation of critically endangered species like the Arabian oryx, African elephant, California condor and cheetah.  To highlight both this significant anniversary and its conservation history, the Park is launching a special weekend of events highlighting Endangered Species Day (May 18).  The event, presented by Living Social, offers a host of activities themed around species conservation.

     "Being part of the national Endangered Species Day is an important part of our 40th birthday," said Bob McClure, director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  "Launching our celebration on this important day helps us draw attention to a key component of the work we do here at the Park, saving species at risk of extinction."

     Beginning on Friday, May 18, Joan Embery will launch the conservation - themed activities in a special ceremony.  For the next three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), guests can enjoy fun activities for all ages to learn more about species conservation.

     Special activities include animal meet-and-greets and talks with national TV spokesman and Safari Park ambassador, Rick Schwartz, an endangered species scavenger hunt and 40th Anniversary Africa Tram tours highlighting endangered species.

     An additional highlight of the weekend will be the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Herbert Raffaele, chief of the division of international conservation, showcasing the U.S. Postal Service's fourth semipostal tiger stamp that benefits wildlife conservation. The Save Vanishing Species stamp will be available for sale at the Park. Proceeds of this sale go directly to conservation efforts for tigers and other species.

     "The Save Vanishing Species stamp offers the public a convenient way to save some of the world's most endangered animals, from African and Asian rhinos to the mountain gorilla to the leatherback marine turtle," said Raffaele. "Whether purchased for postage or as collector's items, this stamp makes it possible for those who cherish wildlife to become a partner in a global conservation program."

     Proceeds from the sale of the stamp will directly benefit the Wildlife Without Borders - Multinational Species Conservation Funds (MSCF), administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The MSCF program supports conservation efforts directed at certain endangered species worldwide considered to be of great importance to the American public and authorized by specific legislation. The five funds presently enacted by Congress are: the African Elephant Conservation Act of 1988; the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994; the Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1998; the Great Apes Conservation Act of 2000; and the Marine Turtle Conservation Act of 2004.

     "Since 1989, the Wildlife Without Borders - MSCF program has awarded more than 1,800 grants through its programs for international wildlife conservation providing critical funding to save these endangered species. It has also been a pleasure to support the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research's international conservation efforts with our grants," said Raffaele.

     The 7th annual national Endangered Species Day is May 18, 2012. Endangered Species Day was first held in 2006, following a U.S. Senate resolution. The purpose of Endangered Species day is to emphasize the importance of preserving the nation's rare, threatened, and endangered animal and plant species, highlight success stories of species recovery, and demonstrate everyday actions that people can take to help protect our disappearing wildlife and last remaining open spaces.

     A project of the Endangered Species Coalition (The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, education, religious, sporting, outdoor recreation, business and community organizations working to protect our nation's disappearing wildlife and last remaining wild places.) Endangered Species Day 2012 is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and National Park Service, along with a wide array of other organizations including National Audubon Society, San Diego Zoo Global, Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Garden Clubs of America, National Association of Biology Teachers, National Science Teachers Association, Boy Scouts of America, Earth Day Network and the North American Association for Environmental Education.

     Funding for wildlife conservation projects through Wildlife Without Borders is a $15.5 million suite of grants for wildlife conservation across the globe. For more information on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife Without Borders program, including detailed summaries of the 2011 grant projects for Latin America, the Caribbean, and other regions, visit

     Follow Wildlife Without Borders on Twitter @USFWSInternatl and on Facebook, USFWS_InternationalAffairs.

     The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel, and download photos from our Flickr page.