Never has there been a time when wildlife rescue volunteers were needed more on Gasparilla Island. To say there is a dire lack of people willing to pick up and drive injured or ill wildlife to local rehabilitation centers is an understatement – in fact, there are virtually none.
From 2005, Blanche, co-owner of The Loose Caboose, has been a volunteer rescuer with the Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida, formerly the Wildlife Center of Venice. She has tried several times to retire from the position, only to continue to receive calls because there is no one else who will help.
The Wildlife Center is looking for volunteers to fill her shoes. If more than one person can step up, each rescue could be handled more efficiently. One person could pick up the animal, another could do the transport. It can be an overwhelming task for one person, as there are frequently two or three calls in one day.
The Wildlife Center will provide training to those who are interested. While the job is a volunteer position only, it might be one of the only chances many people will get to see wildlife up close and very personally.
It is important to remember that any wild animal or bird can bite or “beak” you, not to mention having to be careful of sharp talons. With the training, though, one can quickly pick up on how to quickly and efficiently get the animal or bird from a place of danger to a place of safety.
The Boca Grande community is grateful to Blanche for her years of service, sacrifice and the care she has given to the birds and animals in southwest Florida., but it is time for other volunteers to step up and help our wildlife.
For information, call The Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida at (941) 484-9657.