The Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1994. They are licensed and permitted by Florida to provide state of the art wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and environmental education outreach to five counties in Northwest Florida.
On Aug. 9, Leveille gave a tour of the refuge center. The first inhabitant we encountered was in the main office. Sampson, a 3-year-old bobcat, roamed around the office freely. “He was once someone’s pet,” Leveille said. “The people moved and their new location would not allow bobcats. Our goal is to rehabilitate and release when possible. However, Sampson can not be released. He has been declawed and will approach people. Animals that can not be released become our ambassadors. He will go with us as we educate the public about these beautiful animals.”
The first stop on the tour was the assessment room. “We stabilize the patients here, provide fluids and perform an initial examination. We have all that we need for a fully functioning animal hospital. The medicine and supplies are donated by Dr. Natalie Dyson of St. Francis Veterinarian Center. She also donates her time and expertise to our facility. Dr. Brian Murphy from Mary Esther also donates his services.”
For more on this story, see the August 18 issue of the Navarre Press or subscribe online.