Although the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary website has been taken down, officials with the group still have a presence through Facebook and have remained actively involved in helping wildlife and providing transport assistance for injured wildlife on Pine Island to the Peace River Wildlife Center.
"We have always been present," said Matthew Ristau, director and president of the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary.
In addition to online presence, he said they also have business cards at the Greater Pine Island Chamber of Commerce, the fire department and the Sheriff's Office on Pine Island to provide contact information to the public in case individuals need assistance in helping with rescuing and transporting wildlife.
"We are not hard to find," Ristau said.
Ristau, his wife, Sally, and Tom Snodgrass have been helping with rescuing wildlife all summer long because of their wildlife permits. All of them also have transport permits, so they can take the injured to Peace River Wildlife Center, which they currently work in conjunction with.
The organization is still seeking its 501c3 status. Ristau said the group's status is still pending because the IRS is still reviewing applications from November 2011.
He said he has slowed the organization down on purpose, so they can obtain their tax-exempt status before they continue with their fund-raising efforts.
Since the inception of the organization - April 16, 2002 - Ristau said the fund-raising efforts have been much less than he anticipated.
According to the organization's Facebook page, the donation money that has been received has allowed them to obtain wildlife rescue and transport supplies.
At the end of the year, Ristau said, they will have a year-end accounting of their funds through a third party available.
If anyone has questions about the Pine Island Wildlife Sanctuary they can contact Ristau directly at 239-699-4535.