The Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary continues to work towards opening and helping the wildlife on the island.
Matthew Ristau and his wife, Sally, recently took the Wildlife Rehab exam for Florida and passed it with a 99 percent and a 100 percent, respectively. Matthew is the president and director of the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary and Sally is the vice president, director and treasurer of the organization.
"We are so proud of them," Dr. Eileen Rowan, Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary vice president, director and veterinarian. "The sanctuary will operate under a joint rehabilitator's permit issued with both of their names."
Since Rowan has a Florida veterinary license, she does not require a wildlife rehab permit.
Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary also recently received permission from the IRS and from Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs to accept financial donations from the public, Rowan said.
"All donations are tax deductible," she said.
The organization is still working with Lee County concerning zoning changes from agriculture to include wildlife for the property the sanctuary will work from.
"We are also busy drawing up the final official plans for the outdoor caging that will be submitted to the county for approval," Rowan said. "Fish and Wildlife agents will have to make a site visit to approve all outdoor structures before they will issue final permits for the intake of wildlife."
Submissions from local artists and photographers are still being sought for the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary logo.
"The final decision on the logo will be announced at MangoMania, where we will have a booth," she said.
Rowan will be at the speaker's tent at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, for half-hour discussions about the sanctuary.
Volunteers are still being sought for the many sanctuary committees.
"Volunteers who wish to work directly with our injured, recovering wildlife will need to receive some specialized training in handling techniques, feeding, care of the babies and capturing and retrieving wildlife," Rowan said. "We encourage anyone interested to volunteer at Peace River Wildlife Sanctuary in Punta Gorda for direct instruction this summer."