Wildlife Inc. cares for animals during, after hurricane

Wildlife Inc. cares for animals during, after hurricane
After being hit by a car in July, gopher tortoise Trixie was released after three months of treatment at the Anna Maria Island-based animal rescue organization, Wildlife Inc. – Krista Carpenter/Wildlife Inc. | Submitted

BRADENTON BEACH – With crates full of hungry adult and baby rescue animals at Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Inc., it was business as usual following Hurricane Ian, despite the power outages.

The non-profit found itself with more than 140 new animals after the storm.

“Without power, we had generators going,” Wildlife Inc. volunteer Krista Carpenter said. “We were able to keep our refrigeration needed to keep the formulas cold and other items frozen.”

Carpenter said the microwave was used to heat rice bags, heating pads and bags full of water to keep the babies warm.

“We had several volunteers that stayed on the Island,” Carpenter said. “Gail (Wildlife Inc. co-director Gail Straight) kept vigil for the babies, keeping the generators running. Basically, she was a one-person show with some help from her husband, Ed.”

“We are working hard to do the very best we can for every single one of them, while still working with limited resources,” according to the Wildlife Inc. Facebook page, where donations are accepted.

Wildlife Inc. is a fully-equipped clinic with incubators and cages needed to house, feed and rehabilitate wildlife. Founded by Ed and Gail Straight in 1988, the operation is run out of their Bradenton Beach home.

“We have professional staff and volunteers who manage the feeding and care of the thousands of animals each year. Our ultimate goal is to release native wildlife back into the wild,” according to the Wildlife Inc. website. “We also receive calls from the public about injured animals and send trained staff out to assist and transport wildlife to our facility when necessary. This is currently a “free” service to the public and is supported, like all of our other services, through generous charitable donations.”

One animal, recently released after a three-month rehab at the facility, was a gopher tortoise that had been hit by a car in the Lakewood Ranch area.

“Shannon Warren called the facility on July 3 about an injured gopher tortoise that lived in the hedges near her house and it had been hit by a car,” Carpenter said. “Shannon arrived with the tortoise (nicknamed Trixie) and it had a rather large shell crack… the (shell) pieces were carefully and as closely matched as possible.”

After three months of treatment and healing at Wildlife Inc., Trixie was ready to be released.

“On Oct. 4, Trixie was ready,” Carpenter said. “Her shell was stable, her appetite good and her playfulness returned. Back to Lakewood Ranch she went to live out her life under the neighborhood hedges.”