Wildlife Rescue on Anna Maria

Wildlife Inc. can be reached at 941-778-6324

Wildlife rescue is a whole incredible world of its own on Anna Maria Island. While locals and visitors go about their business every day, several dedicated and generous people devote their time to saving the unfortunate wild animals that encounter problems in bad weather, or when they interact with the plastics, fishing line and hooks that people carelessly leave about.

One of the most amazing booths at recent art fairs on Anna Maria Island has been that of Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, Inc. What is amazing is WHO works the booth: owls. There are some good people there, too. But the owl ambassadors who sit all day on their perches are always extremely inspiring to see. They are beautiful creatures, and it’s sometimes hard to believe they are real. It’s also hard to believe that our environment still supports them. This is a treasure for all who live and visit Anna Maria Island, and nobody works harder to protect this treasure of wildlife than Ed and Gail Straight, Beth Weir, and others who volunteer at Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation, Inc.

Heron rescued from entangled fish line From time to time, during the last ten years on Anna Maria Island, I have contacted wildlife rescue people to come help injured birds in our neighborhood. It seems there is no job too big or too small for them. They have even come to help a tiny warbler that flew into our window. On that particular day, I remember seeing two baby foxes in the wildlife rescuer’s truck.

Most of the rescues in our neighborhood have been of birds on the other end of the size spectrum. We have many great blue herons living in the area, and from time to time they get snagged by fishing hooks, and tangled in fishing lines. Wildlife rescue people have always responded immediately. Sometimes they have been able to catch the wounded bird immediately and pull out the hooks and lines on the spot. Other times have required taking the bird to the veterinary hospital, sometimes for surgery. One of the most recent rescues by Wildlife Education and Rehab involved a great blue heron that had been shot through the neck with an arrow.

One of the most uplifting wildlife stories occurred several days ago. Two baby great horned owls were in a nest 60 feet high, in an Australian pine. A wind gust blew most of the nest and one of the chicks to the ground. This little owl was taken by a kind person to wildlife rescue people Ed and Gail Straight. They checked it out and decided it was OK. The next day, Beth Weir helped another volunteer climb sixty feet up into the tree to rescue the remaining chick. They raised a new substitute nest made of a laundry basket into the tree and placed the two chicks in it with remnants of the original nest. Their efforts were rewarded later when the adult owl was seen at the laundry basket, feeding the chicks.

Wildlife rescue work is extremely time consuming, and can be dangerous. The people who do it are to be admired and thanked. And since they often spend their own money as well as their time in this work, monetary contributions to Wildlife Inc are a great help to them as they receive no funding from local, state, or federal government sources or national wildlife organizations.

Wildlife Inc. can be reached at 941-778-6324

4 replies on “Wildlife Rescue on Anna Maria”

I contacted the Wildlife Inc. folks yesterday after eating lunch at a local beach side restaurant and observing a sea bird get entangled in the clear fishing line the restaurant had strung up on the outdoor patio to deter birds. The bird broke its wing trying to escape the fishing line and was walking the beach dragging its wing wrapped in fishing line. It is very difficult to observe such a horrifying needless cruelty, and while I know the restaurant didn’t put up the clear fishing line to purposely maim birds, it is harming them none the less. I got the manager of the restaurant out on the beach to see the damaged bird and he said he’d do something (call somebody), but I called the Wildlife people when I got back to my office and while they could not immediately get the bird, the person I spoke with said he’d go down as soon as he could. I understand businesses have to make money, but they don’t get to harm the wildlife that makes the venue such an attractive location in the first place. Thank God there is an organization that is willing to help. I wouldn’t know how to care for an injured bird but I can’t step back and just let it slowly starve or get killed by some other animal because it can’t fly. It was heartbreaking to see that bird trapped in that fishing line. I think the restaurant needs to find some other way of deterring birds.

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