McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary in West Palm Beach proudly boasts its reputation as a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation program accredited by Florid Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service: Department of Interior, and the US Department of Agriculture's Animal Welfare Act. Thousands of wounded and sick animals have received treatment at the Sanctuary with the support of donors and volunteers.
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About the Sanctuary
Hundreds of animals from foxes and bobcats to pelicans, owls, and hawks have been treated at McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Many of the more exotic animals treated were given to the Sanctuary by wildlife officers who seized them from their prior owners due to neglect, illegal ownership, and mistreatment. Some of the animals were even brought to the sanctuary by their owners because of their inability to care for them.
There are over one hundred and seventy animals that call the Sanctuary their permanent home. The cost of keeping these animals is astronomical. All funding for the McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary comes from donations made by the community. As repayment for the donations, the Sanctuary provides the community interesting and informative education program.
Mark McCarthy is the Sanctuary’s director and has been professionally working with animals since 1972. The McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary was established in Palm Beach, FL in 1990. It extends across five acres near West Palm Beach. The center has provided over six thousand programs, teaching over five-hundred thousand students over the last sixteen years near South Florida. More than four thousand wounded animals have received treatment at the Sanctuary.
Rehabilitation and Rescue
The rehabilitation center at the Wildlife Sanctuary has expanded greatly. It now includes a clinic and a recovery room for animals treated at the center. The raptor center within the preserve has been expanded and finished. It is home to permanently damaged raptors that will live out the rest of their lives at the Sanctuary.
McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary rescues animals from all sorts of different situations. Birds and squirrels are brought to the preserve when they have fallen out of their nests or after storms have destroyed them. In more serious situations, animals that have been hit by vehicles are brought to rehabilitation center. A determination is made to as to whether the animal will recover and be able to be released back into the wild or whether it’s injuries are too severe, and it must be euthanized. Exotic animals wind up at the shelter when owners are unable to properly care for them, they are mistreated and seized by the law, or the owners don’t have to proper permits to keep them. McCarthy Wildlife Sanctuary offers a home to retired animal actors who are no longer acting.
Exploring the Sanctuary
Visitors wishing to see the preserve, must call to set up a tour. During the tour, staff will remove several of the smaller animals from their enclosures for visitors to interact with. Some of these animals may include an alligator, a tortoise, a kinkajou, a parrot, a tarantula, and an assortment of snakes.
As repayment to the community of Palm Beach Florida for their generous donations to McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary, the preserve offers a several educational opportunities.
Wildlife Outreach Program
McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary developed an outreach program where they take the animals to the surrounding schools for educational purposes. There are nine animals involved in this program, and each is taken at a different time for students to learn about.
Some of the animals are:
· Scarlet Macaw
· American Alligators
· Barred Owl
· Siberian Lynx
· Rose-Hair Tarantula
· Gila Monster
· Albino Burmese Python
· Ringtail Lemur
The program is catered and taught based on the grade level of the students participating. Once the lesson is over students are given the opportunity to help the preserve staff handle the animals. Each lesson lasts about an hour.
While McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary does not offer any internship opportunities, those interested in wildlife and rehabilitation efforts can volunteer. Each volunteer works a few hours two days a week. Their tasks include raking and ground maintenance, preparing food, and cleaning bird cages among other tasks.
Those interested in what they can do to help McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary can make monetary donations or material donations. Those wishing to make material donations should provide items such as trash bags, lightbulbs, animal crates, parrot feed, and fruits and vegetables.
The preserve doesn’t offer a concession stand, but bottles of water can be bought at the gate for a dollar and the gift shop sells chips and soft drinks.
The gift shop can be visited at the end of the guided tour.
12943 61st St. North, West Palm Beach, FL 33412, Phone: 561-790-2116