Wildlife Rescue-a Job and an Adventure
As the snowbirds start to stream down south for the winter, so do the snow birds. Here at Peace River Wildlife Center we have noticed an increase in migrating avian species. We are starting to see wood storks, hawks, and songbirds that pass into and through our area of southwest Florida because of our mild winter weather. It is also hard to miss the longer lines at the grocery stores and increased traffic on the roads as the seasonal residents return. Yes, all of our friends (people and birds) are heading back to town, and unfortunately sometimes they run into and over each other.
That is where PRWC comes in. We rehabilitate the injured bird and try to get it back out into the wild as quickly as possible so that it can resume its migrator flight or not miss breeding season. Many of our year round resident raptors are getting ready to start building or repairing nests and breeding—great horned owls, eagles, etc. But we can’t rehab these injured birds until they are delivered into our capable hands. And that is where our heroes come in—the rescuers.
PRWC treats over 2,000 birds, mammals, and reptiles each year and we care for over 120 residents that cannot be released due to their injuries. With a paid staff of only three full-time people and six part-timers, we rely on hundreds of volunteers to keep our doors open, the habitats clean, and the donations rolling in to pay for food and medications for all of our patients and residents. When a call comes in regarding an injured animal, we can rarely spare anyone that is on duty to leave the facility to go on a rescue. Charlotte County Animal Control officers help out whenever they can, but their primary duty is to domestic animals and public safety. Over the years we have had many stalwart volunteer rescuers that were ready, willing, and able to pick up an injured eagle, bobcat, or snapping turtle, but now we find ourselves relying on just a few individuals to pick up all of our injured animals.
And that is where you come in. PRWC is looking for a few good men. Or women! This coming Saturday, October 18, 2014 from 10a.m. to 12p.m. PRWC will present a Basic Wildlife Rescue Class for anyone interested in learning the basics on how to handle injured wildlife to transport it to a licensed rehab facility. The class will be at the Riverside RV Resort Activities Center, 9770 Kings Highway, Arcadia, FL. That is a mere 4 ½ miles northeast of I-75 on Kings Highway or CR 769.
Admission is free and all donations will benefit PRWC. Reservations are not necessary, but interested parties can call Sam at 406-690-8151 for more information and to confirm attendance so enough equipment and supplies are available. Ideally we would love to have at least one person from each of the areas we serve, from Desoto, Charlotte, Lee, and southern Sarasota counties. She and Bill will present hands-on training and handouts. You will learn how to approach and contain injured wildlife while keeping both yourself and the animal safe. If you have can’t make the deadline for this class, call PRWC at 941-637-3830 to inquire about constantly forming new classes.
No experience is required. A love of nature and empathy for all of her creatures is mandatory. A strong sense of adventure and a weak sense of smell are highly recommended.
by- Robin Jenkins, DVM