NAPLES — An opossum, hawk and white ibis were among the 46 animals admitted to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic this week.
Other species admitted include five laughing gulls, a least bittern, a Cooper’s hawk, an anhinga, a gopher tortoise and two eastern cottontails.
Caring Individuals Prevent Suffering
Several members of the public showed how caring people can make a difference.
A couple saw a sick opossum and called the clinic for advice on how to help. The Conservancy Wildlife Clinic team offered tips to safely contain the opossum.
Willingly following the advice, the couple contained the opossum in a box and immediately transported it to the clinic. The couple showed no hesitation and were eager to help.
The opossum was in dire straits _ emaciated, anemic and unable to stand. With the proper diet and supportive care, it has begun to show slight improvement.
In another instance, a staff member at Hodges University received a report of an injured bird on the campus grounds.
Having no experience with wildlife rescue, he called the Conservancy for assistance. Again, the Conservancy Wildlife Clinic team provided advice.
The man did an exceptional job handling and containing the hawk.
He did not have a box available so he got the bird in a garbage can, covered the top with a garbage bag and ensured proper ventilation by using rolled up poster board as a funnel that provided an opening for air to flow into the garbage can.
Just shows what can be done with a little ingenuity and duct tape!
The bird was a Cooper’s hawk. Cooper’s hawks are one species currently migrating through our area. The bird weighed half the amount of a healthy bird.
Conservancy Wildlife Clinic team members administered electrolytes in an effort to rehydrate the severely debilitated bird.
Sadly, the hawk passed away within 12 hours of admission.
Finally, a woman noticed a flock of white ibis in the parking lot of a friend’s apartment.
The flock dispersed, except for one bird that was unable to fly due to an injured wing.
Although the woman was very hesitant, the Conservancy Wildlife Clinic team gave her instructions for a successful rescue.
With the help of two friends, the woman captured the bird and transported it to the clinic.
Unfortunately, the ibis had extreme damage to its wing and did not survive the injury.
Our work doesn’t always end with a healthy animal being released, but none of us should get discouraged.
Everyone involved in these rescues cared enough to take action and help animals that were suffering.
These animals would have experienced extended pain and suffering if the public hadn’t gotten involved. We are incredibly grateful for everybody’s efforts.
It Takes a Village
With the help of volunteers, “Saving Southwest Florida” capital campaign improvements continue on our outdoor wildlife recovery enclosures.
Seth Enlow, a local handyman, donated the expertise and materials needed to repair several pools that animals use as ponds in our newly refurbished aviary.
These ponds hadn’t been used for 16 years. We were thrilled that the pools were still functional and only needed repairing instead of replacing.
Pinch-A-Penny pool supply store on Davis Boulevard also has donated resources needed to repair the motor on our diving bird pools.
This repair work happened just in time _ common loons will be migrating to our area very soon.
Like the previously mentioned Cooper’s hawk, migration can take a toll on inexperienced birds.
Thankfully, with the support of local businesses, we are able to continue to provide quality care to the animals at the wildlife clinic.
Back to the Wild
This week’s list of releases included three gopher tortoises, a peninsula cooter, an opossum, two gray squirrels, a gray catbird, two eastern cottontails, an eastern screech owl and a common ground dove.
For information on injured wildlife, call 239.262.CARE.
Visit our Web site at conservancy.org for more information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and how you can support our mission.