Animal rescues

A film showcases the work at St. Francis Wildlife


The storm in Tallahassee was a “frog strangler”. The winds blew at 40 mph and the rain blew in torrents. When the deluge subsided, a tiny baby river otter had been carried by its mother down a rushing stream at Cascades Park.

A Tallahassee city employee discovered him, helpless and alone. She picked it up and walked over to Fauna of Saint-François. After failed attempts to reunite the baby with his mother and two weeks of TLC at our wildlife animal hospital, we drove him to Homosassa Springs where he was raised and released with other orphan otters.

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On her morning commute to Tallahassee on a rain-wet Crawfordville highway, a female driver swerved to avoid hitting a small bird. She rescued the very thin Horned Grebe with badly scratched feet and took him to Northwood Veterinary Hospital. Later that morning, the bird arrived at St. Francis Wildlife where it spent the next four days sucking up shrimp and crickets while its legs healed.

Then our wildlife rehabilitator drove the little bird to Panacea, carried it to the water’s edge and released it.

When St. Francis Wildlife received a call about a possum trapped on the northbound North Monroe Street overpass, our on-call lifeguard quickly responded and captured it. When he arrived at the wildlife hospital, our wildlife rehabilitator tended to the marsupial’s wounds and also examined the eight unconscious babies who were happily suckling in his pouch. After recovery, mum opossum and all of her babies were released into a safe forest habitat.

Labor to keep the savages free

Scenarios like these are repeated several times a day at our local wildlife rehabilitation center. For 43 years, St. Francis Wildlife has been advising our community on how to live in harmony with the wild creatures that share our backyards and parks.

People leave us injured, orphaned and sick wild animals at Northwood and Allied Veterinary Hospitals in Tallahassee. Some take animals directly to our wildlife hospital in Quincy. And, if necessary, we also send our experienced rescuers.

Caring for all these wild animals takes more than love and compassion. They don’t purr or lick your hand. They don’t want to be petted. Most see us as predators. This healthy fear of humans is a good thing; their survival in the wild depends on it. They desperately want to be free again, and that is our goal as well.

We therefore treat our wild patients only when necessary to feed, care for, care for and clean them. We remain silent during the treatment or keep our voices low. A caged animal feels particularly vulnerable. Therefore, the public is not permitted in our processing areas and we do not provide tours of our facilities.


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backstage dream

However, St. Francis Wildlife receives many requests from adults and children who would like to visit and see what really happens to the orphaned baby squirrel or injured owl they brought to us.

So to make that dream come true, Kris Petersen, VP of Digital Media Production at The Pod Advertising; Alan Hanstein, Director of Business Development at Event Owl; and collaborated on a rare behind-the-scenes video tour of our 36-acre hospital and wildlife sanctuary nestled deep in the woods of Gadsden County.

Recorded over a year-long period, wildlife lovers won’t want to miss this rare peak in the indoor sanctuary of the North Florida Refuge for Injured, Orphaned and Sick Wildlife.

“It was an absolute honor to be asked to capture these images. I witnessed the care that all SFW staff put into each rescue. They are truly amazing, and I am thrilled that we have this opportunity to show everyone a glimpse of their work at this amazing wildlife hospital!” said Petersen.

“We are honored to support St. Francis Wildlife and this 2021 virtual screening and fundraiser,” Hanstein said. “Using the Event Owl platform, attendees will be able to watch never-before-seen behind-the-scenes videos as they follow hawks, rabbits, foxes, raccoons, turtles and, of course, owls from their arrival in St. ‘at the exhilarating moment when they are released back into the wild.

The virtual screening will be available on demand from December 9 to 12 only. Registration is required to attend. Attendance is free, but if you are prompted to make a tax-deductible donation to St. Francis Wildlife, it will certainly be appreciated.

Sandy Beck is the Director of Education for St. Francis Wildlife. Contact her at [email protected]

If you are going to

What: St. Francis Wildlife Behind-the-Scenes Video Tour Premiere

When: On-demand streaming viewing from Thursday, December 9 through Sunday, December 12 only.

Or: Event details, video trailer and registration link at

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