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New Animal Ambassador joins CROW’s education programs

May 28, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel recently announced the addition of a new Animal Ambassador, a 3-month-old female Virginia opossum.

GiGi, whose name is derived from the common name for her species, was admitted to the hospital on April 16 along with two siblings. The trio was found huddled in a corner along the outside of a house in Cape Coral and taken to a CROW drop-off location. The opossums were in good health except for GiGi, who was missing a majority of her tail. Veterinarians surgically cleaned the site where her tail had been traumatically amputated and sutured it closed.

Her remaining stub of a tail has fully healed, but without the prehensile tail that Virginia opossums use for balance while climbing, she cannot be released back to the wild. GiGi will join CROW's other Animal Ambassadors to help teach the public about her species.

Article Photos

GiGi, a 3-month-old Virginia opossum, is CROW’s newest Animal Ambassador.

CROW began its Animal Ambassador program in 2012 to provide an educational home for animals that are unable to be released into the wild. Current ambassadors include: Lola, an American kestrel; Mina, a great horned owl; Billy, a nine-banded armadillo; Talon, a red-tailed hawk; and Bashful, who is also a Virginia opossum. The animals are part of presentations and programs offered daily in CROW's AWC Visitor Education Center.

"Our Animal Ambassadors are a great way for visitors to learn about the amazing species we have here in Southwest Florida," CROW Executive Director Alison Charney Hussey said. "Many people have never seen these animals up close and they're able to gain a new appreciation for wildlife after meeting them."

The AWC Visitor Education Center, 3883 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel, is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Presentations featuring an Animal Ambassador are offered daily at 11 a.m.

For more information and a schedule of presentation topics, visit



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