Updated: Apr 4
One fine day back in January 1987, Ed Straight and his young son found an injured duck and brought him home…Thus began “Wildlife Inc. Education & Rehabilitation Center!”
Animal rehabbing started out as a hobby for both Ed, Gail and their son and daughter, but their passion for wildlife continued to grow, rescuing and rehabilitating animals. Now it’s decades serving the Manatee and Sarasota County area! Gail & Ed Straight have been living on Anna Maria Island for over 50 years, 36 years rehabbing! This animal rescue would not be in existence at all if it wasn’t for the tireless dedication of the Straight family. Little by little, Gail obtained licenses to care for wildlife animals which included federal, local, and state licenses for animals to reside at their 100 x 50-acre property in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island. The nonprofit wildlife rescue’s goal is to rehabilitate any wildlife of Florida native species, sick, injured or orphaned, releasing all those healed to go back into the wild.
Currently, the Straights are housing: turtles, marsupials, raccoons, rabbits, snakes, squirrels, five varied species of owls, eight doves, three red shoulder hawks, one cat bird, one night hawk, three ospreys, three baby possums, two Canadian geese and one brown pelican! THAT’S a full house! Some wildlife stay at the clinic for weeks, others, months! The Straights provide extensive wildlife outreach and educational services at schools, churches, clubs, and other non-profit organizations. *Presentations only use non-releasable birds and wildlife using their mobile display booth at many events, mostly during the Florida winter season. These include: a few owls, one great horn, one kestrel (smallest falcon in North America), one albino snake, one bent-neck turtle, two tortoises from South Africa and one leopard tortoise. Over 100,000 children and adults each year take part in their educational programs. At one time, they were doing shows, fifteen weekends per year! The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, and also the Straights’ home, is not open to the public due to regulatory restrictions protecting injured and orphaned animals. Their wildlife “hospital” is a fully equipped clinic with incubators and cages needed to house, feed, and rehabilitate wildlife. See their Facebook page to see many wildlife rescue photos and you can donate right on the page as well.
Wildlife Inc. receives calls from the public about injured animals practically every day. They then send trained staff to assist and transport the injured to the facility. This continues to be a “free” service like other services they provide at the clinic to the public, through generous charitable donations. Professional staff and volunteers manage the feeding and care for thousands of animals each year. Currently, they have 27 volunteers, including transporters, and one social media person. Jobs that their dedicated, awesome volunteers do:
· Transporters – volunteers who transfer animals in their car or truck to Wildlife Inc. to be evaluated at the clinic.
· Facility workers – volunteers who help build and rebuild enclosures, fix perches, decks, etc.
· Inside feeders- volunteers who feed every animal at the Rehab facility daily.
To date, Wildlife Inc. services three to four thousand birds and wildlife per year! Wildlife Inc. is funded by donations and grants only. Donations are normally used for administrative costs which include licensing needed for a 501(C)3 non-profit organization, housing expenses, food, or additional vet care when needed. Clearly, they have OUTGROWN this facility due to regulations and are seeking an affordable 5–10-acre location in the East Bradenton area. I was told a new facility would be roughly a $10,000,000.00 investment. Wildlife Rehabilitation Inc. needs help raising money if they are to continue taking care of injured wildlife.
This organization has done so much for wildlife in our community we need them to stay around for many MORE years!
- Laura Weiss