Brevard County WILDLIFE EMERGENCY: 321-821-7881

Our History

Baleen "Heather" Pepe-Dillon and Matthew R Buice founded Wild Florida Rescue in November 2016.

They joined their experience and ambitious creativity to form a partnership focused on a single mission "to save wildlife".

Baleen “Heather” Pepe-Dillon

Co Founder and current Chief Operations Officer

Heather has been caring for wildlife in one form or another since she was a young child. She lived in Trinidad and Tobago for close to 15 years where she Founded “NEST” North East Sea Turtles, an organization teaching poachers sustainable living through data collecting and eco tours rather than by illegal hunting. Several years after the loss of her beloved daughter “Kitty”, she came back to the United States where she began working with Sea Turtle Preservation Society and other wildlife organizations.

When she recognized the need for wildlife rescue in Brevard County she took the bull by the horns and with Matthew Buice, Co Founded Wild Florida Rescue where she continues to work passionately to rescue wildlife.


“When you feel the suffering of every living thing in your own heart, that is consciousness”. – Bhagava G

“The wind, the sea and even the earth defend I”. – Country man

“It’s not how long you were here, it’s what you did when you were”. - Takis Pepe

“We win some and we lose some but we always do it with love and the dream that we can and will make a difference” - Heather Pepe

Matthew Buice

Co Founder

For as long as he can remember, Matt has been fascinated by wildlife. His respect, and admiration for the natural world has driven him to hold onto his dreams and follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero Steve Irwin. From when he was young, growing up in rural Pennsylvania, Matt has always been drawn to the outdoors by his curiosity of nature. Many days were spent catching frogs, snakes, and salamanders in the woods behind his home. As he grew, so too did his passion for animals.

In 2015, He received his bachelors degree in Marine Biology from Florida Institute of Technology. During his years in school he spent time volunteering at Brevard zoo and working part time at an exotic pet store absorbing every detail he could about the animals in his care.

Matthew volunteered his time with several Wildlife Rehabilitators, helping with animal patient care and release. His past times include scuba diving along Florida's coastline, taking long walks with his two dogs at St. Sebastian wildlife refuge, and his main hobby; especially during winter months when the migratory birds have settled, is wildlife photography. He can often be found taking early morning trips to wetlands and state parks trying to get that perfect shot in the golden hours of new light.

His drive to learn about the animals in his care has pushed Matthew to study everything from anatomy and behavior to first aid, and pain management. He believes every animal deserves a second chance at life, no matter how far tipped the scale.


"We don't own the planet Earth, we belong to it, and we must share it with our wildlife." - Steve Irwin

"What a Country chooses to save, is what a Country chooses to say about itself." - Mollie Beatie

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." - Mahatma Gandhi