Whether it be a baby bird fallen from a tree, a bald eagle desperately cli ging to life, a baby bob cat lost and in danger of being killed or a racoon, opposum or squirrel in need of rescue, Gail and Ed will never refuse a call to rescue. Working tirlessly and endlessly, giving unselfishly at any cost these amasing people never cease to amaze and inspire me.
My wife, Gail, and I started Wildlife, Inc. in January of 1987 and it was just a little hobby in the beginning. There were numerous other rehabbers in the area including the one that we had volunteered for in the previous year. We had one small flight cage and also used our front porch to rehab the small amount of wildlife that came in. Over the years most of the other rehabbers dropped out for one reason are another but mostly for financial reasons. I was a Division Chief for Manatee County Public Safety so we were able to finance our operation in the beginning. As our call load continued to increase we converted our three car garage into an infirmary, fenced in our property from front to back , built a big walk through flight in the back with ten individual flights and lined both sides of our house with cages. The front yard is fenced in for open space rehabbing. We do several thousand calls a year and service Manatee and Sarasota County and other surrounding counties. We also do numerous educational programs in the schools, clubs and other events. In January of 2015 we received the "People of the Year Award" from the Anna Maria Island Sun and in 2007 we received "The President's Volunteer Service Award" and in 2015 we received an award from "the Manatee County Sheriff's Office" for our participation "The Flight TO The North Pole" which is a Christmas event for disabled children, to mention a few. We continue to grow each year and with the help of our dedicated volunteers we provide a high level of service to our community.
I have taken numerous animals to Ed and Gail at all hours of the day and night and known that they would receive the best chance at survival and return to the wild. Somehow they manage to care for thousands of animals annually out of their very small home. They are desperately in need of larger premises, yet no animal is turned away. With the loss of habitat to escalating new developments in the surrounding areas, more and more wildlife is displaced. They have devoted their lives to this for the last 25 years with the help of volunteers, donations and the occasional grant. If animals have health issues and can't survive in the wild, they are put in a separate sanctuary and used for educational purposes.
Their passion , compassion, expertise and determination are contagious and make up for the limited resources with which they continue to operate in 3 counties. This includes picking up animals that people can't bring in. I was so inspired I volunteered and now know the challenges they face and continue to overcome on a daily basis.
I have had the pleasure of volunteering for Ed and Gail at Wildlife Inc. for the past 10 years. When I retired, I went looking for a nonprofit that needed volunteers and initially I ended up at organizations that didn't manage to keep me very busy, so I continued looking. Once I signed up with Wildlife Inc. I found just what I was looking for because there is never, ever a moment when there is nothing to do there! Many days I put in several hours and leave there exhausted! Don't get me wrong, feeding and cleaning for these precious animals is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done! When I do leave there with aching muscles but a light and happy heart, I always marvel at the tireless work Ed and Gail devote to this amazing organization every single day of the year! I truly do not know how they maintain their energy. Their work there is never ending. If any nonprofit is deserving of recognition and support, it is Wildlife Inc.!
Having lived on Anna Maria Island for twenty years, I have frequently heard of an amazing wildlife center in Bradenton Beach and thought of it as the go to place for injured shore birds. Last week I had the pleasure of touring this facility, the Wildlife Inc. Education and Rehabilitation Center, and was impressed that not only does the organization care for all types of birds, including several species of owls, but also numerous mammals and reptiles. Moreover, the facility does not just serve the island, but is the only rescue facility in all of Manatee County. The vast knowledge and dedication of Ed and Gail Straight is truly inspirational.
I was very impressed with this tiny but very efficiently run sanctuary. I brought a tiny baby bird there, and I was greeted with a warm smile from Gail and Ed. They showed me the whole facility, and to my surprise, a part of it is directly inside of their house, what a sacrifice from them! I was also impressed with the variety of animals from large turtles to all possible kind of birds as well as small deer. I even got a follow up on my bird, he is doing fine and will be released soon, what a lucky bird without this sanctuary the bird would not survive.
As the Volunteer Director of Education Services for Wildlife, Inc. since 2005, I, along with other dedicated volunteers, deliver customized programs for a wide variety of public and private entities, serving audiences from pre-school to assisted living, including special needs people of all ages. Working with a roster of education birds, Wildlife, Inc. provides incalculable service to the community, fostering an appreciation of the uniqueness of the Florida ecosystem, and advocating for meaningful and mutually beneficial trade-offs between our human and animal populations in an era of rapid change.
David Sadkin, Ph.D.
I've been volunteering with this organization for the summer and it has been the best. Gail and Ed run the wildlife center from their home, and make sure all the funds they recieve goes directly to feeding and caring for the animals. They dedicate practically all there time to helping these creatures make it on there own, even when they are tired and just want to take a nap. I've learned so much from volunteering here. Its awesome because I get to see such a wide range of animals. They never turn down an animal, regardless of its species or its condition. It is such a great experience because you know you are making a difference and everyone there is dedicated to helping. I really hope that Gail and Ed will be able to raise enough money to have a privet facility, so that the center can expand, help more animals, and Gail and Ed will finally not have a zoo at home.
Gail has worked in wildlife rehab tirelessly and with absolute devotion for decades. All of the donations go directly to feeding and care of whatever injured or orphaned animal comes her way. The facility is humble, but adequate. Her husband, Ed, and a precious few other volunteers and family members help to back her up. But when her heart is breaking and she hasn't slept in days, she is the one who is always there for the animals who need her.
Wildlife Inc. is an unexpected treasure on Anna Maria Island, Florida. It was started by a Gail and Ed Straight in 1987 and has been growing and operating out of a part of their home and backyard since that time. They now rescue and rehabilitate over 4000 birds, mammals and reptiles a year. As a volunteer now for a over a year I have seen the love and care that goes into serving the needs of our local wildlife. One Green Planet just named Wildlife Inc to be #1 on it's list of 12 Excellent Wildlife Rehabs Centers in the US. Since they rely only on private donations and grants and have an operating budget of about $100,000 annually they would benefit greatly by your donations. Their vision is to have a private facility with more space in order to expand their services. Let's make it happen!