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New Elephant Expansion

11/13/13 at 11:54pm in New Elephant Expansion (Latest Edit: 11/14/13 at 07:33pm by Shane.)
Post: #1
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According to Screamscape's latest update, sources are telling that site the attraction will not reopen in 2014, and instead will be cleared to become part of an expansion for the elephant habitat.

While I don't doubt BGT is looking at cutting Rhino Rally out permanently, I'm not sold on it being used for an elephant habitat expansion, at least not in it's entirety. (I can see a portion of it being used, but not the whole course.)

One of the reasons I say this is because after discussions with trainer recently, the park was unwilling/unable to provide funding to expand the habitat in order to receive the additional elephants from the Calgary Zoo as their elephant program ended. It would seem odd that just a few months later they are deciding to fund the project for an expansion when they won't be getting those elephants.

There are definitely discussions on whether or not to make the current habitat (expansion or not) bull proof, as it not currently able to have the new male elephant, Spike, out there safely. That decision, at least in part, will be made depending on how well Spike integrates with the herd.

Of course, I'll keep an ear out and report any developments.

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11/14/13 at 08:00am in New Elephant Expansion
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Interesting.... But why make it into an expansion of a habitat?

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11/14/13 at 12:06pm in New Elephant Expansion
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I sucks that they aren't going to take the rest of Calgary's elephant herd! I do hope Spike gets integrated.

I think an expansion would be awesome, though. I love the elephants!

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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11/14/13 at 12:50pm in New Elephant Expansion
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Spoke with an employee who is a Rhino Rally driver this morning. So far, word to the employees is the ride will reopen sometime in the Spring.

Not a guarantee, of course, but wanted to report what I've been told.

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11/14/13 at 01:23pm in New Elephant Expansion
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Oh...well, that crushed my dreams. Frowning

SeaWorld Orlando & Busch Gardens Tampa
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11/14/13 at 01:26pm in New Elephant Expansion
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Any idea if it will reopen as the original Rhino Rally or the watered-down version? What kind of upgrades or changes have they been making?

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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11/14/13 at 01:30pm in New Elephant Expansion
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Rhino Rally sits exactly as it was when it closed in August. I wouldn't expect any changes or improvements beyond routine maintenance.

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02/17/15 at 04:20pm in New Elephant Expansion (Latest Edit: 02/17/15 at 04:50pm by Nicole.)
Post: #8
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Busch Gardens Tampa Elephant Expansion
Busch Gardens Tampa (BGT) has doubled the outside elephant area. Some of their new space was claimed from the now defunct Rhino Rally safari-themed attraction. As you can see from the pictures below, they have added three gates to divide up the pachyderms’ play area. When I was speaking to their trainer last month, she said that they are going to  start letting Spike, the not so recently-acquired male Asian elephant (arrived ~Oct 2013), out in the new area to explore, which would allow the females to explore the old area, closest to the guest walkway.   Because Spike is timid, he stays inside most of the time. To get him feeling more comfortable with the outside play area, the park prefers is keeping him in the more private sections for now.      
   

Update on the Herd
                                                   
     The females ^  and     Spike - The male (Bull) ^

Since Spike has been at BGT for 1-1/2 years, I asked the trainer why we have not seen him out in the play area. She responded that Spike, despite being 12,000lb and much bigger than the 8-10,000lb female elephants, is quite shy. In the last few months he has been venturing out a little into the open play area, but is too reluctant to go very far, only going up to the gate closest to the indoor housing area in the pictures above. He has however, been able to visit the rest of the herd inside.  Spike lives on one side of the indoor housing area and the ladies have the other.  There are several places where they share a “wall” (the dividers are made of bars to give the indoor area a more open feeling and allow the elephants to interact), and can reach through and touch one another. The youngest female elephant, Karnaudi (24 years old), has recently become very playful. The trainer believes it is due to her new interaction with Spike.  When I visited last, Karnaudi was behaving very curiously: dancing on logs, trumpeting energetically, and high stepping while tossing palm leaf branches and small stumps in the air. Take a look at a couple of videos of her antics below:

.mp4  Karnaudi tossing stump.mp4 (Size: 29.96 MB / Downloads: 8)  
.mp4  Karnaudi up on log.mp4 (Size: 36.75 MB / Downloads: 5)
                               
Future Expansion?
So, what are they going to do with the rest of Rhino Rally?  Apparently, several different teams have submitted ideas, including the elephant trainers.  The elephant team has proposed several concepts, including building an area where guests can dine and watch the elephants; an area for expanded behind the scenes tours, including after hours; and an area for underwater viewing.  While I doubt a new elephant area will be expansive as the new elephant enclosure below, they did submit a proposal for the underwater viewing area. See some of the amazing pictures of the elephant area at Zürich Zoo below to get an idea of what could potentially be in store for the old Rhino Rally area!

       

For more info on the elephant park, check these links:
http://www.world-architects.com/en/proje...Zurich_Zoo
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/multimedia/n...s/40493202

Old Rhino Rally Area

The “Water Section’ was taken over by Cheetah Hunt, but the remaining area (outlined in red below) could become the new elephant area. It would be huge!

   

The new expansion would give the elephants new areas to explore, would allow more room for the new male, would provide a larger environment more conducive to breeding. If you have not seen a baby elephant, they are very cool. In DC the National Zoo had a baby elephant and it was just amazing to watch. My wife and I watched him attempt to put a foot long wooden rod into a hanging tire swing. He kept trying and trying to get the stick into the tire but could not figure out how to turn the stick so it would fit.  It was amazing to see the tenacity of this baby elephant. He was was determined to get that stick inside the tire if it was the last thing he did. Finally, he succeeded, but then became confused, because he couldn’t figure out where the stick had gone. Once the baby elephant found the stick, he pulled it out and started again to try to put the stick back into the tire. It clearly a really fun game.

Below is a video of that baby elephant – not the video of the tire, but still cute.  Hopefully in a few years, we too will have a baby elephant playing at BGT in potentially a bigger area. Cheers to BGT for making the animal exhibits so much fun. Enjoy the video!


YouTube Link
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02/17/15 at 04:52pm in New Elephant Expansion
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I really hope Spike is out and about next time I am in Tampa. Maybe they will start offering the animal keeper tours again soon, as well.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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02/17/15 at 04:56pm in New Elephant Expansion
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Poor Spike. The ladies scare him!

Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate! - William of Occam
I'm serious now, who here wants my job? - NASA Director James Webb
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02/17/15 at 04:58pm in New Elephant Expansion
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Great Post, Tony!

Viktor T.
@TheBGTBuzz On Twitter
~Theme Park Blogger & Photographer Covering Busch Gardens Tampa~
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02/17/15 at 05:00pm in New Elephant Expansion
Post: #12
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I have to say, the idea of a "lady elephant" is just fantastic. But I have admit, there was something oddly dainty about them on my behind the scenes tours.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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02/17/15 at 05:04pm in New Elephant Expansion (Latest Edit: 02/17/15 at 05:05pm by Viktor.)
Post: #13
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(02/17/15 04:52pm)Nicole Wrote:  I really hope Spike is out and about next time I am in Tampa.  Maybe they will start offering the animal keeper tours again soon, as well.

I'm good friends with one of the elephant keepers, and she basically said if there's a big enough demand for the tours to return (which there is), and if Spike "Cooperates" so to say, they'll begin phasing in new tour groups.

At this time, the Elephant Insider Tour & Elephant Keeper Tour are still being offered, but a very advanced request needs to be placed in order to give the Elephant care team ample time to prepare for the tour.

Viktor T.
@TheBGTBuzz On Twitter
~Theme Park Blogger & Photographer Covering Busch Gardens Tampa~
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02/17/15 at 05:15pm in New Elephant Expansion
Post: #14
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Ooohhh.

Do you know how we can set up the tour? We called before our last visit and they said the tour was unavailable. The Elephant Keeper tour was easily my favorite animal tour across SWO, BGW, and BGT. I've done it twice, and the trainers were amazing and tailored the experience to our group each time. The Tiger and Orangutan Keeper tour was a close second.

"Wit has some truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words." -- Dorothy Parker
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02/17/15 at 05:39pm in New Elephant Expansion (Latest Edit: 02/17/15 at 05:39pm by Viktor.)
Post: #15
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I would contact the useless & uninformed SeaWorld Parks customer service telephone line and explain your situation. Or, I would email the park, which would give you a better chance of setting up the experience.

I'll be at the park by the end of this week (hopefully), so I'll look into it and hopefully have an answer for you!

Viktor T.
@TheBGTBuzz On Twitter
~Theme Park Blogger & Photographer Covering Busch Gardens Tampa~
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