A Passion for Wildlife
Busch Gardens® Tampa Bay is home to more than 12,000 animals including mammals, fishes, birds, reptiles, and insects. Our extensive team of highly experienced veterinarians, trainers, and animal care specialists ensure the health, enrichment, and safety of this amazingly diverse group of animals.
Our world-class standards of care, state-of-the-art animal habitats and commitment to animal welfare spanning more than five decades have earned our parks recognition as global leaders in animal care. This commitment also is seen in the relationships we have with each animal in our care. At the heart of animal care is passion: celebrating and strengthening the human/animal connection.
Every animal receives preventative medical care, exercise and play, a high-quality and sustainable diet, and an environment that is continually changed to include a wide variety of enriching activities.
Our Training Philosophy
Our animal trainers and husbandry team strive to create an environment that is fun, interesting, and stimulating for the animals. A variety of interactive sessions contribute to animal enrichment and well-being. These sessions fall into six categories: learning, exercise, relationship, play, husbandry (health care), and – for some – shows.
Relationships Built on Trust
Over the years we have learned that effective training is built on one essential ingredient: relationships. These relationships are built on trust, mutual respect, and years of positive and stimulating interaction. The result is the kind of human/animal connection our parks are known for throughout the world — a connection we hope to inspire in each of our guests.
The Power of Positive Reinforcers
All of our animal training relies on the principle of positive reinforcement and the animals can choose to participate or not. When an animal responds favorably to a request by a trainer and receives a positive reinforcer, they’re likely to repeat that behavior in the future. The essence of animal training is to vary the reinforcement to keep animals engaged. We use a variety of reinforcements in the training process; some animals prefer a massage or toy instead of a salmon. Each animal, and each day is different.
Leaders in Animal Care
When it’s time to do a health exam on an orangutan, you can’t exactly ask him to say “ahhh” — or can you? Routine medical examinations are essential to our animals’ health and husbandry training helps to make that happen. Our comprehensive preventative medical program is based on our ability to work with animals comfortably and stress free.
Animals are trained to present various parts of their bodies for examination, measurement, and blood sampling. They are also trained to get on a scale and to hold still and remain calm throughout any type of examination, including x-rays and sonograms.
Who’s Been Born at Busch Gardens?
From rhinos to gorillas to giraffes, Busch Gardens has experienced remarkable successes in the number and variety of animal births at the park. What’s the secret to our success? Our large and knowledgeable team of animal care specialists, who ensure the health, enrichment and safety of their diverse animal population. This makes Busch Gardens’ breeding programs among the most successful in the zoological community.
The scientific advancement of groundbreaking techniques such as artificial insemination affords zoological institutions around the globe the opportunity to manage their species’ genetic diversity. Furthermore, the techniques and knowledge gained from Busch Gardens’ breeding programs have the potential to be applied to other animals in the wild, including threatened and endangered species.
Looking for a Wild Career?
Visit "Career Resources" at buschgardens.org to learn more about zoological careers, or visit buschgardensjobs.com to view current job openings.