FWC reminds captive wildlife facilities, owners, operators to prepare and have a plan in place for impending severe weather

September 23, 2022

Disasters can strike at any time – sometimes without warning. Going through a disaster is not only stressful on you and your family but can also be stressful on your wildlife. The best defense against a disaster is to be properly prepared. Having a plan of action before, during and after a disaster can ease the stress on both you and your wildlife.

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) instituted additional requirements for captive wildlife owners to reduce the threat of escape or injury of captive wildlife. Critical Incident Disaster Plans are required for all captive wildlife permitees.

Here are a few things captive wildlife owners and facilities can do right now to prepare:

  • Review and update your Captive Wildlife Critical Incident Disaster Plan.
  • Have an up-to-date evacuation plan in place, with multiple routes and locations planned and available where wildlife can be temporarily housed.
  • Make sure your transportation equipment is adequate and functional.
  • Inventory your supplies. Ensure that you have enough food, water, medications and supplemental vitamins for your wildlife – at least enough to last three days.
  • Inspect enclosures and surroundings for any issues.
  • Have copies of all veterinary records.
  • Talk to your local Captive Wildlife Investigator if you have any questions or concerns.

Captive wildlife owners are encouraged to monitor weather broadcasts frequently and comply with evacuation orders when issued. 

Additional resources can be found in the Florida Disaster Preparedness Guide for Animals and Agriculture available for viewing on the Florida SART website at:  flsart.org/resource/DisasterPreparednessGuides/DisasterPreparednessGuides.jsp. To access the Guide, go to the Florida SART website at the link above, and sign in with your username and password. New users must register for a free account to view the full guide.

Instructions for captive wildlife critical incident/disaster plans can be found here.