CROW to reopen center with safety protocols in place
The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife’s AWC Visitor Education Center on Sanibel will reopen to the public on June 15 after being closed for two months amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re ready to reopen our doors for visitors, but want to keep everyone healthy in the process,” Executive Director Alison Charney Hussey said in a prepared statement this week. “We’ve added signage to help with social distancing and taken steps to reduce the chance for the virus to spread.”
New safety measures to protect visitors, staff and the Animal Ambassadors featured in the center include scheduled cleaning and sanitizing of commonly used areas and surfaces. A plexiglass safety barrier has been installed at the check-in desk, and CROW is only accepting payment by credit or debit card. Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the center, with signs reminding visitors to sanitize their hands often. Additionally, staff and visitors are required to wear face masks.
“We know there is a possibility of spreading COVID-19 from human to animal,” Hussey said. “Since our Animal Ambassadors cannot wear masks, we ask that you wear yours to keep them and yourself safe while visiting us.”
The live animal exhibits in the center shed light on the impact humans can have on a landscape, including the introduction of exotic species. Featured Ambassadors include invasive reptiles like tokay geckos, cane toads and a ball python, along with native species such as an eastern indigo snake and an American alligator.
Children’s exhibits have been modified to allow for social distancing and for surfaces to be easily cleaned and sanitized. For the time being, live presentations and Wildlife Walk guided hospital tours are not being offered. Visitors can still view the live feed cameras of the hospital and rehabilitation areas, which has continued to provide care for injured, sick and orphaned native and migratory wildlife throughout the pandemic.
“We are very excited to reopen our visitor center to provide another way to financially support CROW’s mission, while helping visitors learn about the important role wildlife plays in our environment,” Hussey said.
The center will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more about CROW’s reopening plan, visit www.CROWClinic.org or call 239-472-3644.
The AWC Visitor Education Center is at 3883 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel.