A few weekends ago Daniel and I joined a friend of ours to the wildlife sanctuary she volunteers at daily. She’d been encouraging us to go for some time and well, now we wish we would have gone sooner! The sanctuary is called “The Eye of the Eagle Wildlife Sanctuary” and is operated by Dr. Dawn Miller D.V.M. She has been supporting these animals for many many years through her veterinary practice, caring for their health and happiness when they have no other places to go or simply need some time to recover before going back to the wild blue yonder. She receives animals who are found on the side of the road, casualty to our roads and highways encroaching on the forest habitats of deer, turtles, owls and other birds of prey. Others are simply unwanted or neglected and brought in. There are goats, horses, geese, peacocks, cats, dogs, ducks, chickens and oh yeah, I almost forgot. LIONS AND TIGERS! I think it is safe to say that Daniel and I were blown away. To think that we have lived 20 minutes away from mountain lions, panthers, tigers and several honest-t0-goodness lions was incredible. I literally have ridden my bike by her place too many times to count, never knowing what I may have encountered had I gone down her little dirt lane. She and her volunteers clearly work hard to give these animals a chance at a happier and healthier life than they would have had otherwise. Many of the local wildlife that she rehabilitates are released, the house-pet and average farm animals can be adopted out and the friendly creatures who can’t make it on their own have a safe place to live and a job through Dr. Millers education and awareness programs.
The big cats present a more difficult problem. The how’s and why these amazing animals have gotten to North Central Florida are often sad. Some people buying them young legally or illegally and finding out that a tiger cub is sure cute when it weighs 20 pounds but at 700 pounds is more than a handful. Some were neglected and abused by their owners or the circus type settings they are confiscated from. One cat has a story involving a drug dealer who “ordered” this beautiful tiger to be his mascot. The cat was intercepted on the tarmac at the Tampa International Airport and confiscated by authorities, only to need placement. Others are living with genetic health problems that other sanctuary’s or zoos aren’t able to accomodate. All of these beautiful creatures are now residents at the Eye of the Eagle while Dr. Miller tries to move those that can to better places.
You can get more info about The Eye of the Eagle Wildlife Sanctuary by visiting their Facebook Page.