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Learn about the Value of Vultures at the Wildlife Park September 7

By Florida's Original NatureCoaster™ Posted on August 30, 2018

Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park invites you to learn all about vultures during the month of September. These magnificent birds truly have a “bad reputation”, and we would like to help raise awareness to the many benefits vultures hold.

The Park’s monthly themes feature Florida’s natural and cultural resources with special displays and programs.

Learn about vultures through exhibits in the Visitor Center and in the Discovery Center. A special program will also be offered on “Vulture Awareness” by Park Services Specialist and vulture advocate, Andrea Junkunc.

Andrea Junkunc with Liberty, the Bald Eagle. Andrea will be presenting a program on the Value of Vultures Sept. 7.

Learn about Vultures

Friday, September 7, 2018, starting at 1:00 pm

A special program raising vulture awareness will be presented by Andrea Junkunc in the Florida Room at the Park’s main entrance and Visitor Center. There will be no charge to attend this program. Andrea Junkunc, a Homosassa resident and vulture enthusiast, will offer a program on vultures. Andrea Junkunc was born and raised in McHenry, Illinois. Throughout her childhood she was an active member of many avian organizations along with her mother.

A love of nature led Andrea to her first job at a small reptile zoo near Wisconsin. Wanting more experience with wildlife, she moved to Florida in 2001 where she pursued further education in the areas of animal care and psychology with an emphasis in animal behavior and training. In 2002 she enrolled in a hands-on animal husbandry course. In 2003, Andrea was hired at Silver Springs Attraction. Her career there started with caring for and doing programs with alligators, snakes and many species of parrots.

Eight months later she had an opportunity to make a department move to the free-flighted birds of prey show. She was thrilled to be working with exotic and native eagles, falcons and hawks, along with many species of owls and Andrea’s personal favorite, the vultures. She went on to become leader of that department and then supervisor of all ambassador animals and show development.

Currently, Andrea Junkunc is a Park Services Specialist at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in the Wildlife Care Department. She works closely with all the park’s animals, coordinates training plans, and animal enrichment programs.

Her presentation will consist of an explanation of the importance of vultures.

About Vultures: Did you know…

Vultures decrease the spread of disease. Vulture’s strong stomach acid destroys harmful bacteria, including Cholera and Anthrax. In many countries the decline of vultures has increased the threat of rabies and Bubonic plaque. There are 23 species of vultures, 14 of which are threatened with extinction, causing ecological and public health crisis in many countries.

Vultures are internationally celebrated, on the first Saturday of every September, during “International Vulture Awareness Day”.

We encourage you to visit Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to learn about the importance of Florida’s wildlife including Vultures.  For more information on our events, please call Kate Spratt at (352) 628-5445.

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