■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
Living in an island paradise is a beautiful thing for humans … and it was just as wonderful for our local wildlife until we moved in. Try as we might to keep the balance and peace between the species, interactions occur that usually leave our island birds and animals on the losing end of the stick.
So it was for a cormorant found along the road at 18th Street and Gasparilla by islander Pearce Presnell on Tuesday morning. Pearce wasn’t sure what was wrong with the bird, but he could tell it was unable to move around the way it should. It was also getting dangerously close to the roadway at times, and Pearce even had to stop traffic a time or two.
We currently have just two people who drop everything to help animals and birds in need – Jacques Boudreau and Blanche Vedette, co-owners of the Loose Caboose. Jacques was the one working at the restaurant Tuesday morning, and he grabbed a crate and headed out to see what was going on.
Upon arrival Jacques confirmed what Pearce had suspected – something was definitely wrong with the water bird. After a brief tussle he got the bird in a crate and headed up to the Wildlife Center of Venice on Border Road.
The point of this story is to implore island residents to become part of the group of caring individuals who help to keep our wildlife alive. As we said, there are only two right now who diligently do the job … and quite often they are running out of hours in the day.
If you have the capacity to help in any way, whether to track down wildlife that has been reported to be injured or to simply drive the crated animals and birds up to Venice, your help is invaluable. There are many methods you can use to keep your car clean during transport, and you can also receive some basic training from rescuers in order to avoid injuring yourself or the animal that needs to be transported.
Please make a New Year’s resolution to help our island wildlife, and contact the Wildlife Center of Venice at (941) 484-9657, or stop by and see Blanche or Jacques at the Loose Caboose for more information.
Also, many thanks to Pearce for calling this cormorant in. If you see injured wildlife and don’t know whom to call, you can call the Wildlife Center at the number above.
The wayward cormorant.
Photo by Pearce Presnell