Saturday, August 15, 2015

Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, Jupiter, Florida

Brian's brother Bruce suggested a visit to The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida. It was a good idea and we had a very interesting day. The Sanctuary is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and conservation of Florida’s wildlife and natural resources.  Their emphasis is on wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education. They provide free comprehensive medical and rehabilitative care to over 5,000 wild animal patients each year with the ultimate goal of returning recovered animals to their natural habitats.  Annually, over 100,000 children and adults visit the Sanctuary and participate in environmental programs, tours, and exhibits. Sadly, the majority of the animals brought in for treatment have suffered injuries from human related causes.
primary mission of wildlife rehabilitation by caring for sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife. Nearly 90% of the animals treated at the Sanctuary’s wildlife hospital have suffered from some type of human related injury, which include collisions with automobiles, fishing line entanglement, illegal gun shots, electrocutions, poisonings, attacks by dogs and cats, and many more.

The panther is Florida's state animal and we saw several in the new panther habitat. The one above looks so cute and cuddly but I wouldn't want to meet one that wasn't behind a fence.

The Sanctuary website has information on the animals in their care. For example, I found this information about their panthers.
Wizard – male, one year old, illegally owned
Dakota – male, our oldest male on display, taken from a property in Okeechobee
Akia – female, our oldest female, seen by a toll collector being smuggled into Fl via turnpike
Mikaya- female, 4 yrs old, being used for glamour shot photos at a mall in Ohio.  Confiscated at PBIA
Micco – male, 4 yrs old, confiscated with Mikaya

Pretty sad state of affairs. After seeing the panthers we took a walk around the wetland observation area and saw a variety of birds. We've seem anhingas similar to the one below while walking around the fountain in Fountain Hills.

In Arizona we usually see the anhingas up in the trees, drying their wings the same way these do.

This beautiful white heron stood perfectly still, looking for food. When I looked it up, I learned that another name for the white heron is great egret. Interesting.

When we left the wetlands area and went back to the sanctuary we spent a lot of time in the bird area.There were several enclosures. There was a large enclosure with brown pelicans, white pelicans, roseate spoonbills, herons and many other birds, too numerous to identify them all.

This cute little duck caught my eye but I have no idea what it is.

I sat for a while, trying to cool off a bit, and enjoyed watching the pelican show. They seemed to be deciding which one was dominant and had a pretty funny little swordfight with their beaks that ended up with one of them in the water.

I think this is a black crowned night heron but I wouldn't swear to it. The red eyes are quite unusual and may have something to do with the fact that they're active at night. There was another one next to this one that was obviously blind.

There were two different areas that had eagles in them. Several eagles, including the bald eagle and juvenile bald eagle below, were in a large barn-like structure. The juvenile bald eagle will be brown until it reaches sexual maturity in 3 to 5 years.

There was another fenced area with no roof that held eagles and vultures. The birds in this area would be free to leave but all were injured in some way and unable to fly.

I think it's just heart-breaking to see this majestic golden eagle with a broken wing, probably due to being hit by a car or some other human caused accident. I guess it's good that it's in the sanctuary though.

Overall it was a wonderful but kind of sad day. The Sanctuary survives solely on donations, no government funding, and I would encourage anyone who's interested to click on the website link above and give a little bit.


We continued with our hot and humid journey south from Savannah. Our first stop was St Augustine, another historic city. We did some sightseeing but there were too many tourists to make it a very pleasant experience. However, we were able to meet up with Brian's brother Bruce and his wife Eileen in St Augustine. They were on their way north to New York from their place in Florida. They showed up on our doorstep with a bottle of champagne to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary and we went out with them for nice dinner. Good way to celebrate the anniversary.
Our next stop was Vero Beach where we were excited to catch up with our Vieques friends Myrna and Bill, and Chef Michael. We hadn't seen them since we left Vieques in 2006 so we had a lot of catching up to do. Very special to see them again!
From Vero Beach we made the short drive to Port St Lucie where Brian's sister Laurel lives. We were able to park in her driveway for a couple of weeks. Brian wired a 50 amp electrical connection in her garage, used our super Sewer Solution to go uphill about 40 feet to the sewer cleanout, and hooked us up to water. Everything we needed. We were here 2 years ago when Laurel bought the house and helped with some of the remodeling. Brian helped out a lot this time around as well.

Brian's brother Bruce lives nearby in Palm City near Laurel. We were able to spend some time with Bruce and Eileen while we were in the area and enjoyed our time with them as well. Bruce took us for a nice cruise on his boat.

Brian and Laurel enjoying the day

Captain (now Commodore) Bruce
 This pelican led us into a nice spot along the St Lucie river for lunch.


Savannah to St Augustine, 181 miles July 21
St Augustine to Vero Beach, 186 miles July 23
Vero Beach to Port St Lucie, 25 miles July 26