SPCA Tampa Bay is expanding its capacity and services during the COVID-19 pandemic to rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. The Largo-based nonprofit recently built an enclosure for opossums, blue jays, rabbits and squirrels that can house up to 100 injured wildlife while they receive rehabilitative care.
SPCA Tampa Bay has been working with rehabilitation partners for decades to care for and rehabilitate sick or injured wildlife. Previously, SPCA Tampa Bay would transfer some animals to partner organizations for care and rehabilitation, however, moving facilities can add stress to an already sick or injured animal.
The new enclosure allows more animals to stay on SPCA Tampa Bay’s campus in a safe, semi-natural environment prior to their release back into the wild. The enclosure can accommodate up to 100 animals in four separate areas. It adds to the SPCA Tampa Bay’s existing housing area for animals not yet mature enough for the outdoor enclosure. Some animals will continue to be transferred to partner organizations for specialized care.
During this pandemic, the organization has seen a consistent need to care for sick, injured or infant wildlife. Baby birds and squirrels fall from their nests in trees with increased frequency during stormy spring and summer weather, and with more people at home during the pandemic, more animals have been found and brought to the SPCA’s Largo campus for care
“As a for-all shelter, we accept all animals that need our help,” said Martha Boden, SPCA Tampa Bay CEO. “Licensed by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission, with our new enclosure, we’re now better prepared to rehabilitate sick, injured and orphaned wildlife with the goal of returning them to their natural homes.”
SPCA Tampa Bay is an essential service and has social distancing measures in place to accept wildlife brought in by the community to its Largo campus. However, most wild animals should be left alone, even if they appear injured.
SPCA Tampa Bay offers the following recommendations to residents who find sick, injured or orphaned wildlife:
•If you find an injured wild animal, before you attempt to capture it, contact SPCA Tampa Bay at (727) 586-3592.
•Parents of baby animals can care for them much better than humans can. If you find a baby wild animal, keep an eye on it for a few hours to see if the parent returns before contacting SPCA Tampa Bay.
SPCA Tampa Bay’s wildlife intake has nearly doubled since 2012. Currently, SPCA Tampa Bay is one of only a few animal welfare agencies in Pinellas County that accepts a wide range of wildlife.
About SPCA Tampa Bay
SPCA Tampa Bay is a for-all shelter that transforms the lives of animals through passionate collaboration with its community. It is the only non-profit animal welfare agency that runs a shelter, pet training facility and public veterinary center in Pinellas County. Founded in 1940, SPCA Tampa Bay has cared for millions of homeless, surrendered and injured animals. For more information, visit spcatampabay.org.