TAMPA, Fla.(WFLA) — We moved into their territory, so it should come as no surprise that in Florida, we can spot wildlife anywhere. From gators the bears, there’s no telling what you might see, literally in our front yards.
News Channel 8 Today’s Gayle Guyardo looked into why wildlife seems to be roaming around more than usual, and what to do if you find an animal in distress.
“Because the food sources aren’t great, we’ve taken their territory, they’re going to start looking for easy hand outs,” said retired Bush Gardens zoologist Kris Porter, who now heads up the Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife. The federally and state-licensed not-for-profit cares for animals in distress.
More than 1,200 animals from rabbits to birds moved through the sanctuary last year. The organization says they have an 84-percent release rate.
“That’s pretty darn good, because we get them hit by cars, run over, things like that,” said Porter.
She says sometimes well-intended Good Samaritans pick up animals they believe are in distress, when actually they are probably just fine. Porter recommends we keep our distance at first, and simply watch and observe.
“Sometimes with baby wildlife their mom is right around the corner and will return,” said Porter.
If you do discover wildlife is in distress, don’t keep the animal — that’s against the law. Turn it over to someone who is licensed to care for them.
The Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife is state and federally licensed to rehab and release animals.