If you’ve visited the Brevard Zoo, you’ve likely met a lot of our more than 900 animal residents. Some animals are easy to spot, but others are often not as easy to see because of their habitat setup, their personalities, their sleep cycles, and other reasons.
That’s why we have a “Meet the Animals” section of our blog: to introduce you to some of the residents you may not have met yet – and might have difficulty meeting even if you intently looked for them!
Our Zoo’s Expedition Africa loop is home to some of our most charismatic animal residents. With giraffe feedings, rhino encounters and a soon-to-be lion habitat for our regal trio, there are plenty of charismatic species that can captivate you for hours. However, across our vast veldt, it’s easy to miss many noteworthy characters among the high-profile mix. A favorite among keepers and in-the-know visitors alike is our single male ostrich, Little Foot.
While you may not have gotten up-close and personal with this spunky Zoo resident, it’s no secret among staff that Little Foot is beloved for his not-so-little personality. Ostriches as a species are known for their fiery personalities, but you may be surprised to learn that this ostrich wasn’t always so bold.
When Africa keeper Savannah Luhn moved from the Ambassador Animal side to Africa, she instantly was drawn to Little Foot. Savannah felt a connection to this bird and took it upon herself to create a training plan for him. Slowly, he showed enthusiasm toward his daily target training and stationary training, which will prepare him for routine voluntary weights.
Once Savannah started training with Little Foot, his personality transformed. He became much more inquisitive and assertive with both keepers and fellow veldt-mates. He also became more interested in new food items and enrichment.
Little Foot’s daily training has not only been a confidence-booster, but also helps with animal-keeper relationships, keeps his mind active, gives him choice and control in his day, and more!
So, the next time you’re taking a stroll around the Africa loop, keep an eye out for this spunky bird and see if he’s doing a training session or giving the giraffes a friendly reminder about personal space.
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.