|An osprey on one of our walks in a refuge.|
I’m not going to tell about every single place we visited on Sanibel Island, but one really interesting place that was special was CROW (The Center for The Rehabilitation of Wildlife). The visitor’s center seemed new, and the displays of the different animals’ stories of rescue and rehab were well-done & sometimes so poignant. One common tragedy for animals on the coast is to be caught up in fishing line that’s been abandoned in the ocean. There were several cases shown, like a raccoon whose paw was almost lost because of a line wrapped around it. If people on the island find any kind of animal that is in need, they are to call CROW, & one of the many volunteers come to pick it up, to transport it to the hospital for treatment. One of the presenters (see below) was one of those transporter volunteers, and she showed photos of a raccoon rescue she did. They have special equipment to capture the wild (and scared) animals, including safe boxes that hold the animal in a confined space so it won’t move around uncontrollably and further hurt itself.
Because the plan is to rehabilitate the animals back into their natural habitat as quickly as possible, they have little human contact, so in the displays, they had webcams of various parts of the hospital so we could observe without disturbing the animal. For instance, one showed a small water area with several birds, including pelicans, hopping about, trying out mended wings, etc. It was heartwarming to see the progress they were making. We also learned that the veterinarians and workers there used both eastern and western medical techniques in the healing process. Acupuncture was used often to alleviate pain, and various kinds of herbal diets were used for differing needs.
We happened to visit on the day of a presentation from two of their volunteers about armadillos and raccoons, which was good. One of the presenters was also an author of two picture books. Her name is Kyle L. Miller, and the books were science/animal based and about a baby armadillo and shore bird life on the Florida beaches. It was fun to talk with her, to have Carter experience this too, and we bought the shore bird book, Snowy Pea and The Ghost Crab, a nice souvenir of this adventure. It’s a beautiful chapter book, with journal-like illustrations.
It was terrific to see this place, to connect the animals we were enjoying so much on our trip to what others were doing to help the animals on the island. It took us all deeper into what the habitat really meant, not just to vacationers but to those who are having to adapt to the people’s ways, the animals.
Here are two quotes that were posted on the walls:
“Lots of people talk to animals… Not very many listen, however. That’s the problem.” Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh
“Only if we understand can we care. Only if we care will we help. Only if we help shall they be saved.” Jane Goodall