Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Rescues American Bald Eagle

The official blog of Busch Gardens Tampa recently shared a truly inspirational story about the rescue of one of the most beautiful birds in the world. Here it is:
"Kamali’s story is a rescue story. She was found at a young age with a gunshot wound in her wing and rescued by the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey before being brought to the park for further care. The wound hindered her capability to fly well enough to properly hunt, so she was deemed non-releasable to the wild.

Busch Gardens’ animal care team helped her to rehabilitate and master several simple behaviors. With the permission of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Busch Gardens trained Kamali to become an Animal Ambassador used to teach and inspire the public.

As with all Busch Gardens’ Animal Ambassadors, Kamali’s trainers used positive reinforcement to help her make the transition. She is always given a choice if she’d like to interact with guests or not. After more than a year of training, Kamali was comfortable enough to begin meeting guests.

At Busch Gardens, she eats daily meals that include the same menu as she would naturally hunt in the wild, and Busch Gardens’ team of veterinarians continuously checks her health and physical progress. With the help of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Kamali’s habitat was modified specifically to fit her needs from the injury.

The leather straps you see on Kamali are called jesses and they are attached to leather anklets. The eagle wears this basic piece of safety equipment because the feet are extremely strong and used to catch and lift prey.

Kamali’s trainers hand made her jesses and customized them to fit her. They are both lightweight and fit her comfortably and allow Kamali to interact in a way that is safe for both her and her trainers. They are long so when she stands on her trainers’ glove she can stand with her feet a comfortable distance apart and allows for a wide range of motion.

Since Kamali began her rehabilitation, her trainers have seen her progress every step of the way. They remember when she was young and her head feathers were still brown! Now Kamali has become an amazing ambassador for her species.

In 2015, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay rehabilitated 350 wildlife cases, including many birds of prey. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund provides continual support to local wildlife conservation efforts. Be sure to say hello to Kamali and the other Animal Ambassador birds that teach the public about different species and bring us closer to the wild.

Busch Gardens has partnered with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to care for Kamali and she currently serves as an iconic conservation and education ambassador for her species and the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund."

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