(By Kim Ryan) I had the great pleasure last week to visit the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife on beautiful Sanibel island. The clinic is a teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through state-of-the-art veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine.
The idea for CROW began in 1968, when islander Shirley Walter found a Royal Tern which had been hit by a car on the Sanibel Causeway. Unable to locate any services for the bird she took it home and cared for it. The clinic has grown over the years and as of this year treats over 6000 furry, feathered and scaled patients.
My visit included an extremely informative presentation on Tortoises, Terrapins and Turtles given by Breanna Frankel, CWR-Rehabilitation manager (pictured right). She exudes so much enthusiasm and wit during the hour long presentation making it a fun experience for all ages.
We (I took my mom who was here on vacation) also signed up for the wildlife walk guided hospital tour which was presented by Allie, an intern from James Madison University. She led us through the hospital to show where and how they care for the animals.
We were lucky to witness the hospital staff tube feeding a teeny tiny opossum. The hospital is a fully equipped 4,800-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed to provide the medical and rehabilitative treatment necessary to assure that recovered patients can be released back to the wild.
Also on the grounds for visitors to see are the animal ambassadors who because of their injuries are not able to be released. We met Lola the American Kestrel, Gigi the Virginia Opossum, Talon the Red-tailed Hawk, Mina the Great Horned Owl and Billy the nine-banded armadillo
Eventually, we circled back to the Visitors center which is jam packed with information, exhibits, and live animals. They also have one wall with many TV screens showing live feeds of animals on the property and the hospital operations. There we met with Hallie Mesics, the public relations and marketing director, who was kind enough to share even more information in this video interview I did with he HERE.
The Visitor Education Center is OPEN to the public. They offer Wildlife Walk guided hospital tours and Daily Presentations twice a day at 11:00am and 2:00pm.The clinic is located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road. Check them out for more information about a visit of your own.