When we first had the vision to start a wild animal sanctuary and made the decision to make it happen, the animals came in quickly. So quickly, in fact, that we were scrambling to provide for an immediate waiting list.
Kisa, a Siberian lynx, was one of the lucky ones. She was among the very first animals we rescued when we started in 1998. She was very young…and was born at a fur farm in Canada, where she would have eventually been killed for her beautiful fur, but instead she moved to Florida.
She and her sister Sasha came together, joining Misha, another Siberian lynx that we had rescued not long before.
The three lived their lives happily at the sanctuary, thriving in the most natural sanctuary setting we could provide. They moved up to the Ocala National Forest with us two years ago (along with all of the other animals)
Sadly, last year we lost Misha and Sasha and now we have lost Kisa….
She was 17 years old and had a great life with her buddies at the sanctuary….but it still hurts to say goodbye. Kisa was the last of the original animals from when the sanctuary first started. It is a comfort to know that she was in excellent health right up to the end, but it till never gets any easier, these animals feel like part of our family.
These first few years after the move have been difficult. Since so many of our animals came to us when we first opened our doors, they have all grown old at one time. True sanctuaries always fill up quickly; we continued to rescue animals but were forced to slow the pace because we must ensure that we have the budget and ability to properly care for animals before we can accept them.
Our animal residents are continuing to age. We temporarily stopped rescuing animals during our ‘big move’ and have been in a bit of a holding pattern on that front until we finish the habitat expansions for the animals already in our care.
Although we are able to take in a few more rescues now we must be careful not to take our attention away from building the infrastructure and habitat expansions for over 100 animals already in our care. We will make careful decisions on a case by case basis, but I’m sure you will be seeing news of new rescues this year!
Occasionally I come across an orphaned or injured small animal like a baby duck. Would you accept it? I do not and am not permitted to keep these animals. I also do not know how to properly care for these animals.
You are correct, any orphaned or injured wild animal requires a rehabilitation permit. We are only equipped to rehabiltate baby black bears. If you are located in Florida, you can call 1-888-404-3922 for Florida Fish & Wildlife and ask for a list of rehabilitators located near you.