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Barb Taylor rescues a great blue heron
Barb Taylor makes the mistake of unwrapping the head of a great blue heron during a rescue for a Kodak moment.

Peace River Wildlife Center’s main mission is to treat and release injured native Florida wildlife.  Over the past decade we have been admitting approximately 200 additional patients every year as word gets out about our services.  Some of the injured animals are unfortunately beyond saving by the time they reach us, and there is little more we can do than humanely euthanize them.

We are extremely grateful for the community that alerts us when they find injured wildlife.  However, there are times when we cannot get to these injured individuals in a timely manner.  Occasionally it wouldn’t matter how quickly the animal gets medical attention.  In the case of gopher tortoise versus vehicle, if that spinal cord is severed (unless said vehicle was a DeLorean and we can go back in time) there is nothing that can be done other than to alleviate suffering.

Many times, though, getting patients to PRWC as quickly as possible can mean the difference between life and death.  While our staff can do amazing things with these poor broken beings, getting them through the door can be one of the biggest challenges we face.

Our rehab staffers are generally not able to leave the Center while they are on duty to perform rescues.  They are kept quite busy treating the patients and residents that are already on site.  If they were to leave the facility, babies would go unfed, medications would not be given, cages would not get cleaned, bandages would not be changed.

The person answering the phones cannot leave the desk to pick up an injured animal either.  Most days, that poor soul is lucky to have time to grab a bite of lunch, with phones literally ringing off the hook—juggling two lines and a mobile phone or two.

So where does that leave us?  We need you!  PRWC will be conducting a rescue class in conjunction with Wildlife Center of Venice to train new rescue volunteers.  If rescuing sounds arduous, it doesn’t have to be.  Some people need do no more than pick up a baby bird that has been placed in a box by the person who found it and transport it to the nearest facility—either PRWC or WCV, whichever is most convenient.

Barb Taylor shows what NOT to do when rescuing a bird.
Barb Taylor shows what NOT to do when rescuing a bird.

Looking for more of an adventure?  We will train those interested in learning how to do more intensive rescues.  We will show you the best way to handle the many different species we deal with on a daily basis—how to avoid injuring the animal even more, and how to avoid getting injured yourself.

Hopefully we will get a number of people from the many different areas that we serve, so no rescuer or transporter has to drive too far on any individual incident.  We also plan to have more classes in the coming months at different locations if this one is not convenient.

This class will be held in the Englewood area.  Save the date for Saturday, September 8 from 10am-12pm.  Contact PRWC at 941-637-3830 or WCV at 941-484-9657 to register and get exact location information.  We look forward to meeting some new friends and getting old friends more involved in the wildlife rehabilitation process.  It is an incredibly rewarding endeavor, one that few people are lucky enough to participate in.

by- Robin Jenkins, DVM