Haven for Wild Animals in Dire Straits

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

Deep in the woods of Wakulla County lies a wildlife haven, a place where sick and injured animals are nursed back to health.

Christine Beatty, the executive director, says, "You probably have two to 300 patients here at any given time."

That's during peak months, typically in the summertime, but this year the Florida Wild Mammal Association may have to turn away patients because of a lack of funds and space.

"The problem is when St. Joe Wildlife Sanctuary closed its doors, their animals needed a home. Take for instance this Great Egret. We're going over there picking up birds, mostly shore and pelicans."

Pelicans with hefty appetites, that is!

"They get a bowl like this once a day, sometimes twice, depending on weather."

That's 10 pounds of fish a day. Tack on 18 bags of sweet feed for deer and three bags of feed for “Frosty” the blind pony and her trusty companion “Freckles.”

It's a ravenous bunch, leaving volunteers with only one choice, make a plea to the public.

Jill Hepple, a volunteer, says, "My cry to the public would be money and food donations."

The donations go a long way to helping these beauties return to the wild. Volunteers say it costs roughly $50,000 a year to rehabilitate these animals.


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