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Shamba Safari Birdsandbats' Shamba Safari Review + A Concerning Discovery

Discussion in 'United States' started by birdsandbats, 16 Jul 2021.

  1. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Date of Visit: July 16 2021

    Shamba Safari is a drive-through safari park located in Neshkoro, Wisconsin. The facility celebrated its grand opening on June 16 2021, although the site has had exotic animals for much longer than this. The facility is owned by the same man who owns the infamous Timbavati Wildlife Park, he previously used this site as an offsite breeding facility known as R-Zoo.

    Visitors drive through the facility in their own vehicle, passing through 4 different hoofstock paddocks and passing by 7 additional exhibits. Ultimately the drive makes a loop, and the admission price allows you to drive this loop as many times as you like.

    With the exception of the big cat enclosures each exhibit is simply a large open grassy field with a pond, which is perfectly adequate for all inhabitants. Around half of the third drive-through paddock is forested, but the other half is an open grassy field similar to the other paddocks.

    The big cat enclosures (one each for African Lion and Generic Tiger) are just sandy corncribs with rock hides in the middle. Not good by any means but above average by Wisconsin roadside standards (it accomplishes this by actually having hiding places).

    Here is a species list, drive-through enclosures have their number bolded. These do not correspond with the numbers on the map, which are too confusing for me to make sense of.

    1. Dromedary, Domestic Bactrian Camel, Common Eland, Nilgai, Addax
    2. Plains Zebra, Common Wildebeest, Scimitar-horned Oryx (Banteng was also marked here on the map but I didn't see it and I'm not sure how I could have missed it)
    3. Indian Rhinoceros Common Wildebeest, Scimitar-horned Oryx (the smaller species can go between through the fence between this enclosure and #2)
    4. African Lion
    5. Generic Tiger
    6. European Fallow Deer, Emu, Greater Rhea
    7. Nilgai, Arabian Oryx
    8. Common Wildebeest
    9. Grevy's Zebra
    10. Southern White Rhinoceros
    11. Southern Cassowary
    12. Generic Giraffe (This is the only enclosure that is allowed to be viewed on foot, although it an be seen just from a car)

    Overall, Shamba Safari is - fine. The cat enclosures are bad but that's really the only bad thing I can say, all of the other animals have perfectly adequate exhibits with tons of room to roam. Except for the strangest and most concerning part of the facility, one I was simultaneously extremely excited about and extremely nervous about:

    There's prairie dogs everywhere. Throughout the safari I saw hundreds of burrow entrances and perhaps two dozen Black-tailed Prairie Dogs. I first saw them in exhibit 6 and assumed they had a way of keeping them in, but then I started to notice them in the other paddocks and even adjacent farm fields. Uh oh. Prairie dogs are not native to Wisconsin, and they are banned from being imported into the state on the grounds of being a potential invasive species. I asked a keeper about it, he told be that several years ago a few prairie dogs escaped, and they had been unable to capture then despite their best efforts, and now they live wild here. It appears I am the first to document to this introduced population, which is strange because the nearby farmers are clearly having trouble with them.

    So, overall, the facility minus the whole prairie dog thing Shamba Safari is fine. For introducing a possible invasive species, not a fan. But I did get so see a wild prairie dog for the first time, so that's cool I guess.
     
  2. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    @EsserWarrior I guess prairie dogs in Wisconsin aren't in danger after all... :confused:
     
  3. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Glad you made it out there! Are you able to feed/pet animals on the drive-thru? If so, I'm surprised they have camels. Maybe due to being so new, they haven't learned yet.
    I've seen mention of the prairie dogs elsewhere. It's appalling that they aren't more concerned, both for the environment and because of what their tunnels and holes can do to an ungulate's legs.
     
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  4. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    You can feed the animals but not pet them. It was obvious that the camels were a bad idea before I even entered their paddock, as they would swarm every car and spit at any elands that tried to get near the cars - I imagine they probably spit on visitors as well.
     
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  5. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Skip to 3:33 in this promo reel of the park and you will see @TinoPup's prophecy come true.

    In the video you can clearly see an Arabian Oryx fall into a prairie dog burrow. That very easily could have killed the animal :oops:
     
  6. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    A few of the more roadside safaris on the east coast have tried them, and every one ends up either fencing them in or moving them to a walking area because of the spitting and their tendency to bite. Maybe one day they'll start learning from other safaris and not include them :rolleyes:
     
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  7. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I'm a little confused by this. If you are in your own car with no direct supervision and being encouraged to feed animals, how is this facility able to prevent people from petting the animals? This safari seems like a safety issue waiting to happen, especially with potentially dangerous animals in direct contact with the general public and no supervision.
     
  8. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Why would they put that in a promo video?! Yep, leg injuries are major killers, even in horses. I hope they do something ASAP, rather than waiting until they start losing animals and AR people start blasting them everywhere, but you know how that goes...
     
  9. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    It's hard to enforce but there are tons of keepers around constantly, so more people get caught then you might think.
     
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  10. nczoofan

    nczoofan Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    IDK. I was shocked to see it left in there. This can't be the only instance obviously and that animal was lucky to not suffer a break from that fall :oops:. You don't need to be animal rights advocate to see how this is dangerous. I mean most people wouldn't keep horses in a paddock so riddled with burrows and I know the AZA would raise it as an accreditation issue (not that this place is gonna try to be accredited).
     
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  11. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I agree. They'll still have to deal with USDA, at least, and that's something they would get in trouble for.
     
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  12. Tim Brown

    Tim Brown Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    I`m thinking that no U.S, safari park has drive-thru big cats...when and where did this kind of thing finally end?
     
  13. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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    This could be a serious problem if they allow an invasive species to become established. Have you reported this to the Wisconsin wildlife authorities?
     
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  14. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I plan to but I'm not quite sure the best way to do that.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jul 2021
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  15. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I don't know the relationship between number of burrows and number of prairie dogs, but I saw hundreds of burrow entrances. If that isn't already established I don't know what is.
     
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  16. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    Just realized I completely forgot to mention Common Waterbuck in the species list. They're in enclosure 1.
     
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  17. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member 15+ year member

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  18. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I don't believe so; I've been to a few places that definitely would still have lions and tigers loose if they could. It would have been within the last 20 years, I think, but I'm not sure about what law or regulation changed it. It makes sense for this country.
     
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  19. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I just heard back from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about the prairie dogs here. They said don't have the authority to do anything about those, but that they've busted the owners of the place several times already for things that Shamba has done that they do have the authority to deal with. They said they would pass the note about the prairie dogs to USDA. Hopefully that means Shamaba's next inspection will be sooner rather than later.
     
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  20. TinoPup

    TinoPup Well-Known Member 5+ year member

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    I'll keep an eye out for it! Nice to hear they got back to you, and rather quickly.
     
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