By Luis R. Rigual with additional reporting by Diana Torres By Luis R. Rigual with additional reporting by Diana Torres | December 17, 2020 | Lifestyle
The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary’s mission to help animals in need remains as powerful as ever.
Tahmahla, a male panther rescued from the California wildfires
“Rescue, rehab, release, educate!” So goes the mantra for the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, an organization that dates back to 1983 established to care for sick, injured and orphaned wild animals while promoting wildlife and habitat conservation through a variety of environmental outreach programs. This season, animal lovers in Palm Beach are delighted that the nonprofit has reopened to the public to see those efforts at work. And what efforts they are. Each year, the sanctuary’s hospital staffers treat more than 5,000 animals—from squirrels and raccoons to exotic birds and reptiles—with the hope of eventually releasing the creatures back into the wild. To say these professionals have seen it all—from collision with automobiles to illegal gunshots—is an understatement, but their dedication has made Busch Wildlife Sanctuary one of the top attractions in Palm Beach County, with more than 100,000 visitors annually.
Of course, the center’s approach to public programming hasn’t hurt. The sanctuary is not a zoo but a refuge with nature trails that lead visitors through pine flat woods, oak hammocks and cypress wetlands. Along these trails are wildlife habitats exhibiting a variety of native animals that range from bald eagles to Florida panthers.
Amanda, a crested caracara that’s one of the longest residents of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary
“Thankfully, we have been able to resume our in-person weekly animal encounters and exhibits,” says rep Carolina Young. “Our animals have never been so excited to see folks walking through the grounds again.”
To celebrate its reopening, this Dec. 5, the sanctuary is hosting Wine in the Wild 2020, a fundraising gala that’s going virtual due to COVID-19 concerns. Ticket buyers will receive a delivery of wine and charcuterie at their homes as they log in to the sanctuary’s website for a silent auction and animal encounters beginning at 5:30PM. While it’s certainly not the same as being there, it is bound to remind folks of the organization’s importance.
“We are so fortunate that we have staff and volunteers who are so passionate that they make their mission a part of their lifestyle,” adds Young. “Without their efforts, I don’t know where we would be.” 2500 Jupiter Park Drive, Jupiter, 561.575.3399
an orphan squirrel being nursed back to health at the sanctuary’s hospital
Photography by: photos courtesy of Busch Wildlife Sanctuary