Dear Friend of Florida's Wildlife,

The Holiday Season is upon us and we enter this season with deep gratitude for the past year and the sick and injured wild animals we have been given the special gift of rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing. Our hearts are overjoyed for the little ones who were raised in our special care. It is because of your generosity and support that they get to be a part of our wild neighborhoods. All of you have contributed to the change we wish to see in the world by giving your time, donations, gifts, and support.


Our most recent and rare patient came to our wildlife hospital after a collision with a downtown Sarasota building. The peregrine falcon is a rare raptor in our area that hunts, sometimes in the cities around tall buildings, by diving from high up at very high speeds ambushing their prey (mostly birds, some snakes, rats, mice, and even occasionally fish). When the falcon arrived at our Triage room, a careful examination by staff helped to diagnose the falcon with a head injury which caused swelling in the brain. The majestic bird that lay breathing, struggling, and fighting for its life was immediately made comfortable with medication and placed in an oxygen chamber which is used to increase oxygen levels in the blood stream after trauma and helps with swelling, speed healing, and recovery.


During this beautiful predator's descent from above (which regularly surpasses 200mph), more than likely, a gust of unexpected wind caused the collision with the building. Sometimes Peregrine falcons use the sides of the buildings to shield their presence until the last second when they often catch their prey mid-flight!


Improvements were inevitable, all thanks to the diligent care of our wonderful staff and the determination of this magnificent creature. The falcon was soon standing, perching, and after some fluid therapy, the appetite returned. The Peregrine falcon was moved from triage to a small aviary where it was able to move freely, started to stretch its wings, and got fed some of the foods it is used to eating in the wild. After passing all of its tests, the falcon was placed in a flight aviary and determined to be ready for release!


Release day was a beautiful day for a falcon because every day in their wild habitat is beautiful for wildlife. Soon after the transport crate was opened at the location where the Peregrine falcon was rescued, it soared, circled, and landed on a ledge of a very tall building. The management team of the building stated that the falcons like to nest on the ledge of the building; so, hopefully, some baby Peregrines are soon to follow!


Oh my Odocoileus!

It was late summer and an emergency call came in to our dispatch office for a baby deer rescue! Rescuers were summoned and responded to a location to rescue a tiny fawn that appeared to have a broken leg. Rescuing and transporting a deer at any age is very difficult due to a phenomenon called "capture myopathy" in which the deer become so stressed during capture and transport that they die. Our fantastic rescuers always take great steps to secure animals and transport them in a low-stress environment. The fawn was x-rayed after its initial examination and it was determined that she had a fractured rear leg (tibia). Rear leg breaks on deer are difficult and this one proved to be extremely difficult once the x-ray revealed that the location of the break made it impossible to pin surgically!


Our medical team decided to splint the leg with a leg brace due to the fawns bright, lively personality; this would give healing a chance without surgery. Keeping it quiet and calm during bottle feedings proved to be challenging occasionally, but rehabilitation staff members take care of dozens of fawns on average. They are trained and experience, and their skills and expertise is always appreciated!


The second x-ray follow up a couple weeks later showed us how healing calcification was going, but there was a set back. There wasn't enough calcification and veterinarians gave us little to hope for, but we did not give up. We re-applied the brace on the leg, restricted movement, and added special supplements to help with calcification of the bone fusing, and gave it more time. As the weeks went by, the little fawn began putting more weight on the leg, a very good sign we've been waiting for! We were a little apprehensive when we finally took the splint off several weeks later, but to our delight, the tiny fawn began to walk, and resumed to normal activity of jumping and playing within days! Thanks to our team at the Wildlife Center and to all those who support our work, the fawn joined others at the center, and was soon released into its natural habitat where all wildlife deserves to live!


In 2021, thanks to our volunteers, donors, and advocates, we've saved nearly 5,000 lives. We hope that you join us once again this Holiday Season to support our ongoing, important work by making a donation. Thanks to the generosity of one of our own Directors of the Board, all donations up to $25,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar! Please send your gift today, and DOUBLE the impact of your kindness.


Thank you from all of us at the Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida!


Wishing you the Happiest Holidays,


Pamela DeFouw

Executive Director
Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida



The CARES Act that allows for "above the line" deduction for charitable contributions of up to $300 for taxpayers taking the standard deduction ($600 for couples filing jointly) has been extended into 2021!