Bradenton couple helps thousands of animals yearly

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Shuffleboard? Canasta? A trip to the mall for shopping and lunch? Not for Ed and Gail Straight.

“I was never one to play shuffleboard,” said Ed. “I have been involved all my life.”

Now that Ed is 79, that is not going to change.

The Straights run Wildlife Inc. which helps orphaned and injured critters. They founded the organization 30 years ago and still run it out of their house on Bradenton Beach.

If it flies, runs, wiggles, or crawls, the Straights have probably rehabbed it.

Ed says 80 percent of the animals that they rescued are returned to the wild. A number of animals that wouldn’t make it on their own are on display at Mixon Fruit Farms.

On the day we visited the Straights, Ed is busy feeding red-headed woodpeckers with an eyedropper.

They gobble down a slushie concoction of dog food, chick starter, cod liver oil, yeast tablets, and bird vitamins. Many of the baby birds there eat every two hours during the daylight hours.

A dozen juvenile raccoons clung to the side of their cage wondering who the visitors with the TV camera might be.

A short distance away, we step into a locked run and are met by big brown eyed fawns that will eventually be released on 1,000 acres in Polk County when they get older.

The Straights are not getting any younger, but they say their passion will keep them going.

“I think I can make it to 2030, alright,” Ed says with a grin.

We hope so because the animals are depending on you.

For more information about Wildlife Inc., go to