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SWFL Wildlife officials continue to see massive spike in wildlife injuries

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SWFL Wildlife officials continue to see massive spike in wildlife injuries

By Katie Jones. CREATED Feb 21, 2014

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla.- Southwest Florida wildlife experts are warning of an extreme spike in bird injuries.

On Friday, rangers at Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park got a crash course on saving the species. For 20 years, vonArx Wildlife Hospital Director Joanna Fitzgerald has been helping the birds and other wildlife.

She said recently, the number of injuries has spiraled way out of control.

"In January, just by the 2nd week we had over 50 birds. In January 2013, in the entire month we only had 4. So the numbers are almost incomprehensible," Fitzgerald said.

On Friday, Fitzgerald gave the rangers hands on experience and education on how to un-hook the birds. It is still unclear why the spike in pelican population, but wildlife experts said there is a way you can help prevent them.

They said proper training could give the birds a better chance of survival.

"If I could get everyone to feel what it feels like when they've actually contributed and saved a life, I think that momentum would spread. It is a really great feeling to know you didn't just turn your head walk away and watch something suffer," Fitzgerald said.

To learn more about the vonArx Wildlif  Hospital and the Conservancy of Southwest Florida visit www.conservancy.org.

Katie Jones

Katie Jones

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Katie Jones is a reporter for FOX 4 news.