Tre Huntoon feeds Francesca the Capybara as they wait for guests to return to Billie Swamp Safari at Big Cypress.
BIG CYPRESS SEMINOLE RESERVATION, Fla. – While it has been over a month since the Seminole Tribe of Florida closed Billie Swamp Safari out of an abundance of caution due to the COVID-19 virus, a handful of staff members have remained busy caring for all of the animals that call the safari park home.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to share animal encounters with our guests, but our animals still need our utmost attention,” said Melissa Sherman, Operations Manager. “We have hundreds of animals in our 2,200-acre safari wildlife preserve that need to be fed and looked after on a daily basis.”
Each day, five staff members from the park’s animal care department attend to more than 250 animals who are on exhibit in enclosures and over 100 more in the safari preserve.
“We have a diverse group of animals in enclosures ranging from birds to mammals to snakes,” said Sherman.
There are over 120 birds on display, including two newly hatched macaws, and lorikeets. Among the many mammals include a Florida panther, timber wolf, Florida black bear, grizzly bear, opossum and capybara. The 50-plus cold blooded animals featured include crocodiles, American alligators and snapping turtles.
“During normal business days when the park is open, guests can typically have a lorikeet feeding encounter,” said Sherman. “To that end, we must continue to condition the lorikeets with interaction from our handlers to prevent stress.”
The wildlife preserve features such animals as zebras, water buffalo, bison, red deer, feral hogs, ostrich, panthers and bears.
“Each one of our animal family deserves the best possible care that we can provide – we love all of them,” said Sherman. “We can’t wait for the day when our guests can return to enjoy these beautiful creatures.”
Billie Swamp Safari is located on the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Big Cypress Reservation, north of I-75 off exit 49. Guests can experience the wonders of nature via airboat rides and swamp buggy tours. Additionally, there are animal exhibits and shows.
About Florida Seminole Tourism (FST)
Florida Seminole Tourism is a top Florida Everglades adventure, learning and camping destination. Florida Seminole Tourism shares the excitement and wonder of the Florida Everglades with visitors from around the globe. Our award-winning Everglades attractions include Billie Swamp Safari, Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, and Big Cypress RV Resort & Campground.