Call of the Wild
One unavoidable side effect of the feverish growth in Southwest Florida has been an increase in the number of painful and sometimes deadly encounters between wildlife and humans: turtles, raccoons and bobcats crushed by speeding automobiles, for instance, or seabirds entangled in nearly invisible fishing line.
Fortunately, there's a kind of 911 for wild animals here. Southwest Florida boasts two groups willing and able to come to the aid of injured wildlife: Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples and the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (better known as CROW) on Sanibel Island. The staff and volunteers at each of these organizations care for thousands of injured or sick wild animals every year, saving the lives of about half and releasing many to the wild after they have mended. Those unable to go back to nature receive room and board and serve as poster animals and goodwill ambassadors for the cause.
Globetrotting wildlife photographer and frequent Gulfshore Life contributor Connie Bransilver recently visited these two local organizations to document their fight to save local wildlife, giving us the heartening shots that grace these pages.
If you happen to come across an injured wild animal, call the WRC or CROW before you bring it in. Trained staff and volunteers can determine if the animal needs clinical care. If it does, they'll give you detailed instructions on how to transport the animal.
Both organizations often seek donations and volunteers. For further information, contact:
Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, 1455 Merrihue Drive, Naples, FL 34102
(239) 262-CARE. www.conservancy.org.
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, Box 150, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-3644. www.crowclinic.org.