Environmental Leadership Spring Break Trip

A Safe Place for Animals: Update from the Environmental Leadership Trip

The Loxahatchee region is home to more than the serene river we kayaked down. Right next door to the area we pushed off from lies the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and rehabilitating indigenous species to Florida. These species range from birds of prey to bobcats and panthers. The folks who work at this sanctuary help these animals by nursing them back to full health, and if they have the man power to do so, reintroduce them to the wild by helping them integrate into their old lifestyles.
According to our tour guide, 90 percent of the animals in the sanctuary were placed there due to human actions. This ranges from animals being hit by a car, as was the case with the large snapping turtle they had in one of the habitats, to people stealing animals from their natural habitats, like the river otters. In fact, one of the pelicans they were rehabilitating got a fishing hook stuck in its’ gullet, which ended up tearing through making it impossible to eat. Luckily, these kind people took the bird in and are expecting to release it back into the wild soon.
Another example of how the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary helps animals reintegrate into the wild would be the red-shouldered hawks. Two of the adults in captivity are too injured to be released into the wild, so they use these birds as foster parents for younger ones. By doing this, the birds don’t become too reliant on human interaction and feeding.
Many of the animals cannot be released into the wild because they would not be able to cope with such a lifestyle. However, through many hours of dedication and the donations from environmentally friendly people, these animals have the chance to be rehabilitated and taken care of. Institutions such as the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary offer hope to the environment and to those of us fighting for its’ rights.