LAMONT, Fla. (WTXL) — Stepping up to save the natural world before it is too late is what a local non-profit in Jefferson County is dedicated to doing, one rare and endangered animal at a time.
North Florida Wildlife Center, home to dozens of different species of rare and endangered wildlife, opened in 2019. The local non-profit is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species through breeding, habitat restoration and education as it sits on 10-acres.
Ryan David Reines, the executive director of NFWC, says the more NFWC can educate and inspire the public eye, the more they can convince people to make tiny little changes in their everyday lives that will help nature for the greater good.
"We hope to open up people's minds and help them understand that animals and nature are much more diverse and complex than any of us were ever taught in school," said Reines.
Reines expressed that he has always been fascinated by life. "I like diverse life and think that we should do our very best to keep life and bio-diversity thriving on this planet," said Reines.
With the new year comes new additions to the center, including a two-toed sloth named Sid, a red kangaroo named Marlu, and a giant ant eater from South America named Bumi. Bumi has gone viral for video of his 2-foot-long tongue.
NFWC Animal Care Specialist Alyssa Hansel said animals in the wild are important and crucial to our eco-system. "A lot of these animals do also serve important ecological roles in their natural environments including our bats and anteaters," Hansel expressed.
The wildlife center is also taking on a towering goal, housing its first endangered giraffes by 2026.