Hurricane Updates

Update #1 - Sept. 6 - 12pm:

At this time CROW has enacted its hurricane plan and began making the necessary preparations for the storm. 

Update #2 - Sept. 7 - 10am:

All animals that were demmed releasable by veterinary staff have been released. Any patients which will need care throughout the storm are being prepared to be transported to an off-island location with staff and students should an evacuation take place. Kits for each patient have been prepared to last a number of days. The same will be done with all animal ambassadors that will be going with staff members to their homes or evacuation locations.

Further preparations continue today to secure the buildings and protect them from high winds and storm surge.

Update #3 - Sept. 7 - 3pm:

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) will be closed Friday, September 8 after 12 p.m. due to impending inclement weather from Hurricane Irma. The wildlife hospital and visitor center will remain closed until further notice.

“The decision to close has not been made lightly,” says Linda Estep, CROW Executive Director. “The safety of our staff and the entire CROW family is very important to us. We want everyone to be safe during the storm.”

CROW will continue to accept patients directly and via its drop-off veterinary partners in Fort Myers through Friday. After that time, wildlife emergencies should be kept in a warm, quiet area by the rescuer until the CROW hospital is able to resume operations or taken to those local veterinarians that are open.

In the event of an evacuation, students, key staff, educational ambassador animals, and fragile patients who can be maintained safely will be moved to a facility off-island where continuous care can be provided.

Future updates on when the hospital will re-open will be provided on this page. 

Update #4 - Sept. 7 - 5pm:

Due to the mandatory evacuations of Sanibel and other barrier islands the CROW Wildlife Hospital will be closed and unable to accept any new patients effective immediately.

If you have found injured wildlife, please contact Specialized Veterinary Services in Fort Myers at (239) 947-0588 or Viscaya Prado Veterinary Hospital in Cape Coral at (239) 574-2868.

Update #5 - Sept. 8 - 6pm:






At this time all CROW staff, students and evacuated patients have made it safely to their evacuation locations on the mainland.

The live critter cams in our outside enclosures are still streaming and will continue streaming throughout the storm providing they are not damaged by any wind or debris. The cameras can be watched through our website to see the impact the storm has on Sanibel.

The four North American river otters in our care were released today ahead of the storm.

Update #6 - Sept. 9 - 11am:

Veterinarians returned to the hospital on Sanibel island early this morning to provide any last minute treatments and provide food for 3-4 days to patients that were unable to be evacuated such as turtles and tortoises. These patients are safely contained inside the hospital.

The decision was made this morning to euthanize any patients which could not be evacuated and would not be able to survive on their own in the hospital for 3-4 days.

Veterinarians then returned to the evacuation location and are now safe and prepared for the storm.

Further updates will be posted as they become available throughout the storm.

Update #7 - Sept. 10 - 11pm:

All CROW staff, students, ambassadors and evacuated patients are ok and have survived the storm.

The worst of the storm winds have passed. The storm surge is being reported to be lower than first predicted. We will not be able to assess any damage until tomorrow if we are allowed to return to the island.

Update #8 - Sept. 11 - 8am:

Key staff such as CROW's Executive Director, Hospital Director and students were able to return to the island this morning. Early reports indicate many downed trees and the power is still out after going out around 2pm yesterday.

Hospital staff were able to make it into the hospital to provide treatments and food to those patients that were unable to be evacuated.

Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.

Update #9 - Sept. 11 - 5pm:

A report from Dr. Heather Barron, CROW's Hospital Director, who has been on the island since this morning stated that ALL patients who were not evacuated are safe, warm and dry.

The hospital, visitor center and student housing received very little damage if any at all. There is some repairs that will need to be made to the outside enclosures and numerous trees and branches are down.

At this time the power is still out.

Update #10 - Sept. 11 - 7pm:

At this time, due to a lack of power, we are unable to take any calls about injured wildlife. If you have found injured wildlife, please contact Specialized Veterinary Services in Fort Myers at (239) 947-0588. They will be able to take in these animals and we have arranged to be able to pick them up and transport them to the hospital tomorrow morning.

Thank you all for the kind words and support! More updates will be posted on our Facebook page and website as they become available! 

If you would like to help us in recovery efforts, you can do so by clicking this link: 

Donate to CROW's recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma

Update #11 - Sept. 12 - 6pm:

Currently, our hospital is running on a generator and is open to treat patients. Our phone lines currently do not work however so please contact Specialized Veterinary Services in Fort Myers at (239) 947-0588. They will be able to take in any injured wildlife which will then be transported to our hospital.

Update #12 - Sept. 13 - 12pm:

As of this morning our phones are working and we are taking calls about injured wildlife!

We want to thank Specialized Veterinary Services for being so amazing through this difficult time. Without their help, we could not have continued to fulfill our mission after the storm!

At this time, we are working on assessing our needs to create an Amazon Wishlist. One of the best ways to help us will be through monetary donations. You can donate through our website or our Facebook page! Thank you to everyone who has donated already!

Update #13 - Sept. 13 - 4pm: 

We still do not have power and continue to run on generators, but the hospital is functioning and able to care for injured animals that need help. 

We have began clean up efforts around our property which mainly consists of clearing debris. 

With the influx of patients, we have started to run low on some items in the hospital. We have created an Amazon Wishlist, which can be viewed by clicking here: Hurricane Irma Relief Items. These items will help us continue to care for wildlife affected by the storm and also assist with our clean-up efforts! Thank you all so much!

Update #14 - Sept. 15 - 1pm:


Our Visitor Education Center is still having power issues and will remain closed until it is fixed. Check our website for further updates on when it will be re-opening. Our hospital, however, is beginning to get back to normal operations including taking in new wildlife patients!

A very special thank you goes out to group of volunteers who selflessly took time out of their day to come help us clear debris from our property in the sweltering heat. We are so incredibly grateful for their help and because of them, we were able to clean up the property in just a few hours!

Update #15 - Sept. 18 - 8am:

Over the weekend, we have regained full power to all buildings on our property. At this time, it is still unclear when our Visitor Education Center will be open for business.

All four North American river otters which were soft released have survived the storm. The otters used a back stairwell of the hospital building for protection through the storm. The four otters were recaptured last week because they were unable to successfully find food in the wild during and after the storm. They will need further live prey training to hone their hunting and foraging skills before they are able to be re-released.

Our live cameras are back up and running! Watch the otters and our intake room on the live stream through our website!

Update #16 - Sept. 18 - 12pm:

CROW's Visitor Education Center will re-open at 10am on Wednesday, September 20. We will resume normal business hours and scheduled presentations and programs. Check our event calendar for the schedule of presentation topics and programs.