Monday, February 27, 2012

We're Baaaaack!

Wow, it's been waaaaay too long since we've updated our blog!  Please forgive the absence, we've been so busy!  But, no excuses, we'll be much better at keeping you updated from now on. 

So, let's much has been happening!  Let's start with some staff updates.  We have two new keepers on staff that you haven't met, Suzie Berkowitz and Rick Cohen.  Suzie is a devout animal lover, and has been working with exotics almost her entire adult life.  One of her passions is environmental enrichment, and since her arrival at RSCF, our parrots and primates are thrilled to find special browse--greens, flowers, plants, pine cones, you name it--in their enclosures on a regular basis.  Rick is a craftsman and musician.  He can build just about anything with his hands.  This comes in very handy when building new enclosures, and he's become very familiar with hog ring pliers and wire cutters in his short time with us.  Rick's passions include art and music, and generously played acoustic guitar during our annual fundraiser and art show, Wild Things, held February 5th.  More on that later....

Now, farm news.  2011 was a fantastic year for our bongo antelope.  We had NINE babies in the group by January 2012!  This brings our total to 29, and it is amazing to see.  Bongo raise thier calves communally, and all the babies stick together in a group.  There are bongo everywhere!!!  We are also establishing new breeding groups around Florida on private ranches, and have sent seven adults out since January.  We plan to move more in the coming months.  Bongo ranching will help us build a pool of animals for shipment to Africa, as part of RSCF's Bongo repatriation program.  For more on that, click here.  We will, one day soon, see bongo living wild on Mount Kenya!!!

No farm report would be complete without a Mico Mighty Marmoset update.  Mico, as you know, is a world-famous figure now.  Be sure to visit his facebook page and "like" him.  He's continually visited by new folks, and is fat and happy.  Nothing makes him happier than a visit with new humans.  His roomate, Trixie, is also well, but wants nothing to do with all the visitors.  She takes extremely good care of Mico, grooming him all day.  What a life!  In other pygmy marmoset news, we have an extremely productive family group that welcomed twins not too long ago.  This brings this family's number to seven.  Pygmys trive in large family groups, and the babies learn how to be parents by caring for thier younger siblings.  RSCF staff veterinarian PJ Deitschel has been taking some great photos as seen here.  In fact, we'll be posting a new farm photo every Monday, so stay tuned!!!

The aviary is quiet for now, but the breeding season is just around the corner.  The red browed Amazons usually begin laying eggs in mid March, so the countdown is on!  Last year's babies are doing fine, in their large,free-flight aviary.  We are continuing to develop joint programming with organizations in Brazil to develop captive breeding programs there, with the hope of returing red brows to Brazil soon.  In the meantime, we prepare for this year's babies....and get ready for hand feeding round the clock! 

We also have a visitor in our clinic...a green cheeked Amazon parrot from the ferel flock on Palm Beach.  This little guy broke his wing somehow, and a generous good samaritan brought him to our attention.  Turns out he's one of the babies we banded last year.  After a visit with avian vet Susan Clubb, his wing is wrapped and he is recuperating nicely.  The break was clean, so we hope he will be flying free again soon.

February was an exciting month, with our annual wildlife art show, Wild Things, held February 5th.  What a great event!  Aritists from around the country came to show and sell wildlife inspired art of all kinds.  20% of the sales was donated to RSCF.  We partner with Busch Wildlife Sanctuary for this event, and they brought amazing creatures to mingle with the guests.  Artist Georgette Pressler of Devious Body Art transformed a model into a beautiful parrot....stunning!  Beef Wellington Steakhouse and Social Club provided delicious passed foods, and our hosts Gisela and Howald Pferdekamper created the perfect studio space for the show.  Special guest Tami Hoag (New York Times bestselling author) was our Mistress of Ceremonies and we all had a blast!!  Click here for a slideshow of images from the night...what an amazing evening! 

Whew, that's enough for now.  We promise more updates!!!  Till then, be kind to yourselves and all the wild creatures around you!