Brevard County’s Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary Treats Injured, Orphaned ‘Patients’

By  //  October 18, 2021

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dedicated staff and volunteers go above and beyond for the vulnerable wildlife

Florida WildlifeHospital and Sanctuary treats approximately 5,000 injured or orphaned wildlife patients every year, for it is as it should be since the whole point is to help the creatures return to the natural world.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The 200-plus volunteers and the small staff at Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary never get so much as a “thank you” from their patients. In fact, these folks have to be careful, because some of their patients could inflict serious damage with their beaks, talons or jaws.

The lack of gratitude doesn’t phase the folks at the Palm Shores facility that treats approximately 5,000 injured or orphaned wildlife patients every year, for it is as it should be, since the whole point is to help the creatures return to the natural world.

Although in existence since 1973, Florida Wildlife Hospital maintains a low profile, primarily because the folks at the place are so busy caring for patients that they have little time to toot their own horns.

“We don’t want to be a well-kept secret,” said executive director Tracy Frampton, who has launched several initiatives to raise awareness of the hospital’s work in the community.

“We have dedicated staff and volunteers who go above and beyond for the vulnerable wildlife in our community. They are passionate and caring and much of their work goes unnoticed.”

One thing is for certain at the hospital – you never know what will come through the door next. It could be a gopher tortoise that has been hit by a car but somehow survived, requiring months of rehabilitation as its carapace mends.

It could be an orphaned fawn or a litter of abandoned possums. Pelicans and gulls often get tangled in fishing line or plastic litter.

The 200-plus volunteers and the small staff at Florida Wildlife Hospital and Sanctuary never get so much as a “thank you” from their patients. In fact, these folks have to be careful, because some of their patients could inflict serious damage with their beaks, talons or jaws.

Because Brevard is located smack in the Atlantic Flyway bird migration route, the hospital has treated countless different bird species that have run into trouble with disease or accident. Some leave even avid birders like Frampton scratching their heads.

Well-meaning humans also add to the patient load by transporting what they consider are abandoned wildlife babies at the hospital’s doorstep, when the mother was just out looking for dinner. Baby bunnies and squirrels may arrive by the hundreds and they require plenty of round-the-clock care, plus loads of patience.

Everyone has a special diet here, and food and care is expensive, yet the hospital receives no government funds and depends primarily on private donations – and volunteer elbow grease – to continue.

Why is helping wildlife important? Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, perhaps put it best when she said, “I feel I am nothing without wildlife.”

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