Recently we began working to develop our organization’s mission and vision statement. We thought we had them figured out our mission statement was going to be, “Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife is a non-profit conserving native Florida wildlife in the Greater Tampa Bay area.” and our vision was, “To reduce human impact on Florida’s native wildlife through rehabilitation and education.” However, after yesterday it was clear that we needed to think a little deeper about exactly what it is we do and why we do it. While those statements are absolutely true they only seemed to skim the surface.
This weekend was a very tough for our volunteers. Not only did the calls start coming is early each day but the calls were some of the most difficult calls that we have had. We were called in several times by the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) because they needed a permitted rehabilitator to work with them on cases and then we had one yesterday in which we had to call on them.
(This paragraph is not for the faint of heart.) Yesterday we had the worst call we have ever had and hope that we will never have another like it, but if we do we will be here to take it. We received a call from a woman in Brandon who was very upset and frustrated. She had called several other ‘rescue’ groups and all of them had refused to help her. She had even gone as far as calling a group in Sarasota who had finally referred her to us. She had found a white pelican in her apartment complex that was severely injured and was in need of urgent help. Within an hour we had a team of volunteers on site that had to literally wade out into a pond in order to get to the bird. Once they were able to get their hands on the bird it was apparent that something horrible had happened to it. The poor bird who was somehow putting up a fight had been filleted alive. The team quickly and carefully crated up the critical bird and called FWC to bring them in to investigate. Mean while the volunteers rushed the pelican in to one of our cooperating vet facilities to take a better look at it. Sadly the pelican did not survive transport, but would have needed to be euthanized either way. Once they arrived at the hospital one of our transporters stayed with the bird in order to document every detail an order to report back to FWC. As the vet tech removed the pelican from the crate the staff including the vets grasped and shuddered in digest. They said that in all the patients they have had this was by far the most gruesome and disturbing. Evidence showed a very clean slice that had started at the sternum and traveled down to the pelvic region leaving one breast dangling while the other was removed.
While numerous groups refused this call because its outcome was grim we stepped up and took it. We find ourselves taking numerous calls that are not simple rescue, rehab, release cases and why? Because it is not fair to the animals that they are left to suffer and that their cause of their injury is never addressed. We do what we do because, Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife is a non-profit organization working to protect and conserve native Florida wildlife while inspiring others to care and appreciate it. And it is our goal to; reduce human impact on Florida’s native wildlife through rehabilitation, education, and teamwork.
If you happen to find any wildlife in trouble please make sure you report it to a licensed rescue organization like Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. We also ask that you consider making a donation to Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife so that we may continue our work to conserve and protect wildlife in the Tampa Bay Area.