Raptor Center of Tampa Bay founder Nancy Murrah aids a raptor.

The Raptor Center of Tampa Bay (RCTB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and maintenance of a wildlife facility designed for the care, treatment and rehabilitation of birds of prey and other wildlife. While there is not a physical facility yet, there are plans to develop one — and that has not stopped founder Nancy Murrah and the Raptor Center team from doing what they can until that facility comes to fruition.

RCTB was born out of another organization with a mission of helping wildlife known as Tampa Bay Raptor Rescue. The Raptor Center was created in 2018 to serve a greater purpose than rescue, as there is a focus on education about these animals, their habitats and some of the obstacles they face in modern times.

“Our message is simple: We plan to educate people of all ages, what they can do to help turn this extinction around and, in a short and simple way, explain how all of our ecosystems and the food web are tied together,” Murrah said.

RCTB is very effective in its work, as there are roughly 1,000 animals that receive care through the organization, and there are even a few resident animal ‘ambassadors’ for the facility. While the primary focus is on raptors and other birds of prey, it is capable of handling many reptiles and mammals as well for short periods of time before getting in contact with specialists for those animals.

Unfortunately, as things currently stand, the demand for the services of the Raptor Center outweighs what its resources allow, as birds are turned away every day due to the lack of resources and space, which is why the future rehabilitation facility is so important. These creatures are in need of assistance, and that is the void that those involved with RCTB are determined to fill.

“As a lifelong conservationist, I have watched our wildlife battle habitat destruction, polluting our waterways, plastic pollution, deforestation and many other terrible things that have resulted in a 27 percent reduction of birds worldwide during my lifetime. … I want to do my part so the young people on the planet today have hope,” Murrah said.

RCTB recently acquired and is in the process of refurbishing a donated prison bus that will be transformed into a traveling education center. This center will be used for a variety of educational purposes, such as the “We Can Stop It” show and housing RCTB’s educational ambassadors.

If you would like to help, donate or simply get more information, check out RCTB’s Facebook page @RaptorCenterofTampaBay or its website, www.raptorcenteroftampabay.org.

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