Due to the residential growth that has taken place in the last 20 years, habitats for local wildlife have been greatly reduced and they have had to learn to live among us.
For one reason or another, people might find local wildlife in danger. Whether injured, sick or abandoned at a young age, you might not know what to do to help these animals. That is why Kris Porter founded Owl’s Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife.
Owl’s Nest Sanctuary is a state and federally licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works with places like Busch Gardens and SeaWorld to provide wildlife with professional aid, and it is 100 percent volunteer run. With over 90 volunteers and six counties to cover, it has much support but is always seeking more assistance.
“Owl’s Nest Sanctuary started four years ago,” Porter said. “I’m a retired zoologist from Busch Gardens. I used to work as the animal lead in the nursery for 11 years, and I raised my girls and really didn’t do any wildlife [rescuing] until one of my zookeeper friends prompted me to start this.”
For those seeking to volunteer, Porter said, “They can actually just go to our Facebook site or website, and there’s a volunteer form. They fill it out and it actually comes to me, and they’ll get an area mentor. We go from there and I’m training them.”
Beyond protecting and conserving Florida animals, Owl’s Nest Sanctuary wants to inspire others to care for and appreciate wildlife. It also wishes to “reduce human impact on Florida’s native wildlife through rehabilitation, education and teamwork.”
“The goal is to rehabilitate and release,” Porter added. “We have an 86 percent success rate. Anything over 50 and you’re doing pretty well.”
“It’s my calling, I’ve done it forever. I’ll do it until I can’t do it anymore,” Porter said. For wildlife rescue help, call the Sanctuary at 920-5495 or 598-5926. If no one answers, leave a message with your name, phone number and the animal’s location. It does not help with pet rescues.
Due to the organization’s volunteer-based structure, members work from their own homes. The Rescue does not accept visitors. However, donations can be mailed to 12932 Royal George Ave., Odessa, FL 33556.