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Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and Big Cypress National Preserve are working together to protect South Florida wildlife with a new exhibit that encourages people to treat alligators, wading birds and other animals with respect, for the safety of the wildlife and the public.
The new exhibit, to be installed at several popular wildlife viewing spots along the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) within the Preserve,isbeing funded by the Naples Zoo Conservation Fund with a $15,000 donation to the South Florida National Parks Trust, the nonprofit partner of Big Cypress National Preserve.
Theexhibitrepresents the first project of a new partnership between the Naples Zoo and Big Cypress National Preserve. Additional exhibits are planned for the Naples Zoo and at entrances to popular backcountry trails at Big Cypress. The exhibits will emphasize wildlife conservation and safety.
“We are grateful for the strong partnership with the Naples Zoo and to be working with them for the benefit of South Florida’s wildlife and the safety of the public,” said Pedro Ramos, superintendent for Big Cypress National Preserve.
“These exhibits will encourage people to enjoy the rewards of being in nature while also appreciating the responsibilities we have to protect wildlife,” said Tim Tetzlaff, Director of Conservation and Communications for the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.
The Tamiami Trail exhibits will urge visitors to keep a safe distance from wildlife and to refrain from disturbing or feeding alligators and other animals. Alligators that are fed pose a danger to the public and may be removed and killed.
“The overall message of the exhibits iswildlife conservation and safety,” said South Florida National Parks Trust Chairman Neal McAliley.
The firstLiving with Florida Wildlifeexhibits jointly produced by the Naples Zoo and the Big Cypress are scheduled to be installed later this year along the Tamiami Trail.
About Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Founded in 1919, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a nationally accredited zoo nestled within a 44-acre historic tropical garden. The nonprofit Naples Zoo cares for rare and endangered species locally and around the world. Cruises, shows, and keeper talks are offered daily in the Zoo promoting its conservation and education mission. For more information, visit www.napleszoo.org or call (239) 262-5409.
About Big Cypress National Preserve
Established as one of America’s first national preserves in 1974, the site protects over 729,000 acres of a vast freshwater swamp ecosystem, which supports the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a broad diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther. For more information on the Preserve, please visit www.nps.gov/bicy.
About the South Florida National Parks Trust
The South Florida National Parks Trust was established in 2002 to support South Florida’s four national parks – Everglades, Biscayne and Dry Tortugas National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve – through fund-raising and community outreach. Since its inception, the Trust has provided more than $4 million in funding to these four parks to support projects and programs in five critical areas: environmental education, resource protection, visitor services, volunteer activities and community outreach. For more information about the Trust, visit www.southfloridaparks.org on the Web.
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