On a recent photography trip to southwest Florida on the Peace River and the Myakka River out of Port Charlotte, I was fortunate enough to get an invitation for a private tour of a local wildlife rehabilitation center established in 1982, funded solely by Grants and Donations. PRWC is operated by a group of dedicated professionals and volunteers who are making a big difference with their many success stories in the area towards wildlife preservation.
This is Luna, a male Leucistic Screech Owl now living at the Peace River Wildlife Center in Punta Gorda, Florida. Screech owls are typically gray or reddish brown, however, this little guy is white. He’s not albino but has leucism which is a genetic mutation preventing melanin pigment in the bird’s feathers.
Luna was found as a fledgling by a hiker near the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center in Southwest Florida. PWRC attempted to return him to his nest but could not locate one. Because of the owl’s leucism, he most likely would not find a mate and won’t survive in a natural habitat because he has no camouflaging capabilities. This full grown adult male stands 6 inches tall and weighs in at just under 6 ounces. After my visit, I sent this image along with a couple more I captured that day and a thank-you note for their hospitality to the center. Two days later, I was contacted by Callie Stahl, Executive Director of the Peace River Wildlife Center and asked if I would give them permission to use the images for a planned new brochure, marketing purposes, new web-site under construction and as prints for sale in the gift shop. Of course I was more than delighted to help out for such a worthy cause and also volunteered to provide more pictures and set-up gallery showings to help with future fund raiser events when I am available. More about the Peace River Wildlife Center at their current web-site - http://peaceriverwildlifecenter.org/ In addition, I have partnered with Callie and the PRWC to submit a proposal before this year's 10/31/16 deadline for the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) Foundation's Philip Hyde Environmental Grant on behalf of the PRWC to see if they can be this year's recipient, never know unless you try. See more about the Grant here - http://nanpafoundation.org/philip-hyde-environmental-grant/ It's not a lot of money but every little bit helps. Together Callie and I meet all the criteria for this Grant to be awarded 3/3/17 at the NANPA Convention in Jacksonville Florida. If awarded, the Funds as well as the Publicity will go a long way to help with their upcoming move to their new facility.