Jul 19

It's Hot Outside...But Not to These Animal Ambassadors

by Staff

This, Friday July 20, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens animal ambassadors will appear live on Univision’s national morning show, Despierta América. Viewers will be able to learn fun facts about a couple of species that are found in warm-climates.

Meet Olive

Caracara from Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa

Olive is a 6-year-old, rescued crested caracara that came from the Audubon Bird-of-Prey Center in Maitland. And although the center tried to re-socialize her with other caracaras, she never grasped the concept that she could hunt and find food on her own. After being deemed un-releasable, SeaWorld was asked to step in and care for Olive and has been doing so for the last couple of years. She can be seen at SeaWorld Orlando where she serves as an animal ambassador.

The crested caracara is the national bird of Mexico, commonly referred to as the “Mexican Eagle.”

The caracara is an omnivorous scavenger that usually gathers its meals from the roadside, much like vultures. Crested caracaras also eat small mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, crabs, insects, earthworms, and even young birds. Not only do caracaras hunt, they have been known to sneakily steal meals from other birds, too.
Crested caracaras are the only member of the falcon family to spend a lot of time on the ground and that builds stick nests, and these are no ordinary nests. Built in trees, like palms, or even on the ground, caracaras take pride in their humble abodes. Often used year-after-year, these nests can get pretty big as adult caracaras will continually add layers of twigs and sticks.

Meet Lucky

sloth from seaworld and busch gardens theme parks

Lucky is a 13-year-old two-toed sloth that lives at Discovery Cove, Orlando. Lucky is a great animal ambassador for SeaWorld Parks and interacts well with guests. Lucky has participated in several public relations and media appearances across the county and even in Canada. He helps us educate guests about the importance of conservation to prevent habitat loss, the major threat to this species.

Sloths can be found in Central and South America, range throughout the Amazon River and are most common throughout Brazil. Sloths are an important part of the South American rainforest habitat. As vegetarians, they act to disperse and “re-plant” seeds which regenerate the forests they survive in. While sloths move very awkwardly on the ground, they swim surprisingly well.

Sloths are mainly nocturnal and are only active for nine hours of the day to conserve energy. They eat food which grows all around them so they don’t have to go far, and only go to the bathroom once a week. That life suits a sloth just fine! The slow, stationary life of a sloth actually helps them to avoid detection by predators – as does the brown vegetation look to their hair, which is adapted to grow algae for further camouflage them.

Meet Ziggy and Talgarno

They are appropriately named bearded dragons because of their "beard," an expandable throat pouch with spiked scales. These fellows have a pretty intimidating looking bit of head protection already – but when threatened, they can enlarge the size of those jaw pouches to look twice as fierce.Color for this species depends on the soil of the region they live in, ranging from dull brown to tan with red or gold highlights. Bearded dragons like to climb on branches, bushes, and fences. They can be found in Australian deserts, and live in burrows during the hottest part of the day.

Learn more about these three species and many more during your next visit to one of the SeaWorld or Busch Gardens parks across the country. Despierta América airs nationally on Univision 7-11 am EST.