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Bobcats and deer and bears, oh my! Our Wild Florida team of six cares for 29 animal residents, most of whom can’t be released back to their native habitat after being injured or becoming too comfortable with people.

“Because many of them have physical limitations that prevent them from returning to their natural range, we have to modify their environment to suit their specific needs,” said Wild Florida area supervisor Marc Franzen.

Those needs can include everything from providing our crested caracara Camilla with a habitat that’s easier for her to navigate with her past leg injury to giving our bald eagles Crowbar and Kane a choice on how they spend their days with extensive perching in their habitat.

White-tailed deer fawn receives scratches from keeper

Plum loves scratches from her animal care team!

Since last year, our Wild Florida team has welcomed a number of new animal residents: Betty the Florida black bear; Abby and Aries the bobcats; Plum the white-tailed deer; and Peach the fallow deer.

This team is amazing at adapting in the moment and accomplishing projects that aim to improve animal wellbeing, Marc said. They’ve learned a lot about their animal residents and do a great job of anticipating their needs.

This is especially evident with our Florida black bears: Cheyenne, Brody and Betty. Their keepers are committed to providing them care that follows and brings out their natural behaviors, from giving them foraging opportunities to building dens for them to spend the winter inside.

The most challenging part of the job? Going home, Marc said. It’s hard to leave your animal residents at the end of a workday or workweek – especially when you start thinking up new ways to continue giving them the best life possible.

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.