Story by: Marshall Shive
Wildlife rehabilitation is something that’s losing public interest with the ever-expanding industrialization of America. Even in Jacksonville an increasing number of natural habitats are driving animals out of the forests and into more urbanized areas, causing injuries from cars, trappers and waste left behind from the construction sites.
So, what happens after someone calls animal removal to escort wildlife out of their backyard? That’s where the Wildlife Rescue Coalition of Northeast Florida comes in. Many times, agencies such as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission bring injured animals that aren’t too critically injured to non-profits such as this one.
Here, Director of Operations Lisa Rowell and her team of volunteers rehabilitate all kinds of native Florida wildlife. This includes deer, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, foxes, turtles, snakes and more.
“The Northeast Florida wildlife Rescue was founded in 2003… the reason for starting it was seeing how much the public needed a place to take injured animals in Jacksonville,” said Rowell.
According to WFSU State News, 15% of Florida is already developed and, if the trends keep moving in the direction they’re going, they could jump to 18% in the next 17 years. That’s an additional million acres of natural habitat lost. The direction Florida is going with mass amounts of people moving in from other states the demand for more housing and infrastructure will be high. This will lead to more animals being forced into densely populated areas.
Many of the animals on the campus of the wildlife rescue were sick from eating things toxic to them due to human pollution, hit by cars or injured from being captured in snare traps. As this becomes a more normal issue with the loss of their natural habitat, Jacksonville will need wildlife rescues like the Wildlife Rescue Conservation Coalition more than ever.
The wildlife rescue can use all the help they can get as the need for them continues to rise. Necessities such as supplies for caging, food for the animals, and financial support are all welcome. For more information, visit their website here.