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A Wild Year in Review 2022

Dear Friend of Florida's Wildlife,

As we enter this holiday season, I would like to reflect upon some of the challenges the wildlife center has faced and also give thanks to those who have risen to those challenges. Allowing us to continue to treat the thousands of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife that we have seen this year.

Hurricane Ian proved to be a very destructive storm that negatively impacted the majority of Southwest Florida. Our center sustained numerous damages After the storm passed and we were in the middle of assessing the damages, we found that we were

struck with a one-two punch as the Myakka River flooding proceeded to flood our campus. Rest assured, no animals were harmed here, as we took extensive precautions before the storm to assure their safety. However, we found ourselves, underwater, without power, and without running water. During a time when we were intaking hundreds of animals that had been injured and/or orphaned by Ian. We received several Ospreys and hawks suffering from wing injuries. The overwhelming majority of the patients we received were small orphaned mammals. We worked around the clock, between our staff and a handful of volunteers that stepped up, caring for and feeding 178 Eastern Gray Squirrels, 27 southern flying squirrels, and 62 eastern cottontail rabbits.

We were able to utilize kayaks to access most of the property. However, the flood waters proceeded to turn our grounds into a muddy mess. Proving too dangerous for us to allow our volunteers on most of the campus. While our existing structures sustained damages they survived overall. Unfortunately, the construction that had just begun of our new habitat structures have been hit hard. Creating more delays and setbacks to our construction timeline.

Our new aviary sustained the most damage of our newly constructed enclosures. We have, however, gained some forward momentum. The lift station for our campus has been ordered and is set for installation in the near future. This has been a major hurdle as we cannot begin anything else until the lift station has been installed.

The upgrading and expansion of our facility are crucial as the need for our services continues to grow year after year. While 2020 was our biggest surge in patient intakes, each year we continue to see those numbers rise.

With our growth, plans of expanding our lab capabilities are in the works. An in-house x-ray machine is the first of many additions that will allow us to better examine, stabilize and determine a treatment plan for our patients. This increases the chances of survival. All thanks to a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota.

When it comes to growth, it is important to recognize our amazing interns. We were lucky enough to have a great bunch this past summer. Riley, Nathan, and Lea were learning hands-on and assisting with some necessary feedings with the influx of baby songbirds this year. Interns are a very important part of the center. They are the wildlife caregiver of the future and we need to teach them how important it is to preserve and conserve.

In order for our future plans to come to fruition, we depend on your year-end giving. It not only helps you for the 2022 tax season, but it is also a vital part of what keeps our center running and allows us to continue our mission. We would like to thank you for your continued support. Thank you for being a part of our caring community of supporters.

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