Florida’s disastrous hurricane season is taking a toll on the state’s wildlife as well as its residents. Animals and birds that rely on trees for habitat are particularly affected. Wildlife rehabilitators are scrambling to keep up.
April Arrington has been feeding baby squirrels non-stop since the latest hurricane hit Florida. Arrington is a trained wildlife rehabilitator. Her latest patients are storm victims knocked from trees and nests by high winds.
One humming bird lost part of a wing in the storm. Sea turtle nests took a devastating hit with all the beach erosion. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Angie Raines says the hurricanes have also taken a toll on some endangered and threatened birds.
Angie says, “A lot of the habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers and burrowing owls and those types of animals who either live in the trees or their holes have been covered up by falling debris, those are animals we’re looking at for damage.”
Arrington says the parade of people bringing in injured and homeless creatures has been continuous.
“Yesterday they were coming in 20 to 30 an hour. It just was coming in real fast,” she says.
Yes, they’re cute and furry, but they are wild animals and sometimes you may be better off leaving them where they are. If you’re not sure, Arrington says call a wildlife expert.
“Sometimes you leave them alone because mom can come back to them, and sometimes you don’t. We’re happy to determine that judgment.”
Even the smallest storm victims are finding people who care.
St. Francis Wildlife is in need of volunteer squirrel feeders and financial support. Contact 850-386-6296 if you'd like to help