Ninety seven. A good grade. A hot day. The percent of animals rescued on Gasparilla Island who make their way to the Wildlife Center of Venice.
Since 2004, injured and sick wildlife have been rehabilitated at this five-acre facility on the outskirts of Venice. In slower times, the Center takes in 30 to 40 animals a week. During the spring, however, the number can go up to 30 to 40 every day.
Last year 3,406 animals went through the doors of the center. Animals that have injuries or are ill are seen by a vet. Any medications and supplies needed must be purchased.
Once their immediate needs are taken care of, the animals have to be fed. Pelicans and other sea birds get a diet of fish, while birds of prey are fed a variety of meats. Adult mammals are fed a diet appropriate to their species.
Baby mammals present a challenge of their own. They have to be fed every few hours using special formulas. After they are weaned, they must be taught to forage for themselves before they can be released. When an animal can’t be released, it must be housed and cared for until a permanent home can be found.
The center employs a staff of three, two full- time and one part-time. The staff works 11-hour shifts, overlapping to provide continuous coverage. A cadre of volunteers helps with paperwork and cleaning so that the rehabilitation staff can focus on caring for the animals at the center.
Jacques and Blanche Boudreau, along with Nancy Lingeman, will be hosting the Grande Family Fun Fest on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Loose Caboose. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for children.There will be live music by local duo Beans and Seeds, games for the kids, a wine tasting, and a $10 per bottle wine grab for the adults, trays of delicious treats, and a Silent Auction featuring donations from local businesses.
So bring your friends, bring your children, and most of all, bring your love of local wildlife. It’s sure to be an evening to remember.
There is still time to donate wine and Silent Auction items. Contact Nancy Lingeman at 964 – 0097 or Blanche at (941) 421-2805 for information or bring your donation to the Loose Caboose, 964-0440. If you want to make a direct donation or see the center’s wish list, visit the Wildlife Center of Venice website at wildlife centerofvenice.org or call (941) 484-9657.
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