The mission of FKWR is to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured wildlife and to educate the public so that everyone is made aware of the importance of respecting all life and keeping the environment safe and clean for present and future generations.
We specialize in wildlife but, in emergencies, rescue domestic/exotic species that are abused, abandoned, stray, or cruelty cases, often in collaboration with other animal rescue organizations. We will not turn away any critter in need; we care for them until their official rehabilitators can collect them.
We exist to care for those who need special attention and to ease their suffering as soon as possible. We exist to speak for those who cannot speak.
Maya Totman, Founder and Director of Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue, is an experienced surgical nurse, ornithologist, and environmentalist who speaks five languages due to the fact that her professional and charitable work took her to many countries (she even worked for Mother Teresa). She is married to Paul Totman, whom she met during the Gulf War and who recently retired after being wounded in Iraq while serving with the U.S. Navy.
Maya grew up on a family farm where she learned to care for the usual farm animals including cows, horses, dogs, cats, chickens, and turkeys. At age 6, her grandmother began to teach her some of the basics involved in caring for injured and orphaned wild birds. At this young age, she discovered she had a talent and a love for helping some of nature’s most frail creatures. During the ensuing years, while she was employed as a nurse, she always accepted opportunities to work with birds and other wildlife.
When her husband was transferred to Key West, Maya joined the Key West Wildlife Rescue doing husbandry and rescue work. As well, she established a professional relationship with Laura Quinn of the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier and continued to learn the nuances of wildlife rehabilitation. In February 2000, Maya’s dream, Exotic and Wild Bird Rescue of the Florida Keys, became operational on Big Pine Key as a non-profit center for the rescue and rehabilitation of wild birds. The location was chosen to fill a void in a section of the Keys which had no convenient avian rescue center. The center was incorporated and obtained 501 (c) 3 Federal Tax Exempt Status that same month. In 2007, the name was officially changed to Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue (FKWR) to more accurately reflect the work done by the organization – rescuing and caring for all disabled wildlife, the predominant species of which is wild birds that, in the Keys, greatly outnumber all other animals. A six person Board of Directors, of which Maya is President, oversees the operation.
FKWR has established an impressive if modest sized rehabilitation facility where there are aviaries for housing sick and injured birds, flight cages (two with concrete pools for wading birds), facilities for other species of wildlife, and regular and intensive care facilities including diagnostic and remedial capabilities in the hospital.
FKWR has become the accepted rescue/rehabilitation organization in the Lower Keys and handles emergency calls from all local citizens and agencies, including the Florida Marine Patrol, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Mosquito Control, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Federal Marine Sanctuary, and Stand Up For Animals which operates animal shelters in Marathon and Big Pine Key. Additionally, Bell South and Keys Energy cooperate by using their high-wire equipment to rescue critters on high poles and to remove thousands of feet of bird-threatening monofilament fishing line draped over bridges and utility lines. Maya is assisted by area veterinarians who offer professional advice, refer emergency calls to her, accept displaced or disabled wildlife for temporary care, and perform specialized surgery. Cooperative relationships with other Keys rescue organizations allow us, when necessary, to transport “patients” to their facilities for special needs or use of equipment not yet available at the FKWR hospital.
Board of Directors
1388 Avenue B
Big Pine Key, Florida 33043
Paul A. Totman
1388 Avenue B
Big Pine Key, Florida 33043
93600 Overseas Highway
Tavernier, Florida 35070
281 West Indies Drive
Ramrod Key, Florida 33042
Dr. Lois Sargent, DVM
P.O. Box 521801
Miami, Florida 33152
Dr. Linda Gottwald
10803 Aviation Blvd.
Marathon, FL 33050