I volunteer at the Sawgrass Nature Center and Wildlife Hospital doing things such as helping with the animals at children's parties--there is a charge to the family, bringing revenue to the center--and going to outreach functions. I love the animals and the mission of the Center. It's not really about children and visitors. It's about the animals. Rescue. Save. Return to the wild. Keep forever if necessary for the welfare of the individual critter.
The Florida Gopher Tortoise is a keystone species, meaning it is essential to the environment. They are burrowing animals and share their burrows with other animals, many of whom would die without the accommodations provided them by the Gopher Tortoise.
Bruce, the tall thin man in the video, is also a volunteer, but one with longevity. It is obvious to me that he loves the tortoises. On a weekly basis, he takes them out to allow them to browse for things to eat, helping them retain their natural instincts. On this day, he asked if it were possible for our little tortoise to have his freedom. After Donna gave permission and secured agreement from the sanctuary, an abandoned burrow was located, and Bruce got his wish. I tagged along after Bruce and Donna with my iPhone capturing the moment.
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