From Web Exclusives
double tap picture to expand gallery
South Florida Wildlife Center (SFWC) in Fort Lauderdale may not rank as a New Year’s Eve hotspot, but for medical director and veterinarian Antonia Gardner, it’s a fitting place to pay tribute to “auld acquaintance” and to welcome new faces. The center, an HSUS affiliate, is open 365 days a year and takes in more than 12,000 animals annually. For SFWC’s dedicated staff and volunteers, this means a constant cycle of caring for the sick, injured or orphaned while saying farewell to the healthy and healed before they’re returned to their wild habitats.
On the last day of 2017, Gardner and her team split their time between triaging new patients and providing rehabilitative care for current residents. A peregrine falcon, burrowing owl, turkey vulture, Eastern wood-pewee, gray squirrel and peninsula cooter were among the dozens of animals they helped survive to a new year.
It’s “the job of my dreams,” says Gardner, who has worked at the center for 12 years. Click through the gallery above for a behind-the-scenes look at the center’s work and a day in the life of a wildlife veterinarian.