Now that the Carlton Preserve brush fire is out, the wildlife center prepares to treat injured animals

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A gopher turtle was recently rescued from a sea of ​​ash and burnt bushes after a bushfire ravaged 550 acres of the Carlton Preserve.

“It touches your heart because it was struggling, struggling to breathe like we do when we get caught on fire,” said Pamela DeFouw of the Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida. “He’s got burns on all four of his legs. Luckily he’s still holding on. He’s still very, very critical, but he’s still with us and that gives us a little bit of optimism.”

DeFouw and his team of volunteers are housed less than a mile from the reserve.

“Our facility is preparing to deal with the aftermath of the fire. Often you don’t see the effects for several days afterwards,” she explained.

While many animals can flee the flames, some may have been disoriented or trapped.

The fire is out, but DeFouw is ready to receive wounds through his door.

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“If something is injured, timing is important, burns are painful. Infections are very, very critical. The sooner we can get these animals in and treat them, the better,” she said.

As the turtle continues to heal, DeFouw and his team stand ready to help other animals who may have been injured in the blaze.

“We want to bring them in, help them and get them out into the wild,” she said.

To report an injured animal to the Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida, call 941-484-9657 or visit https://wildlifeswfl.org/.

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