With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of us are reeling from the impact that the global travel restrictions and lock downs have on our livelihoods. The implications are epic, and the road to recovery will take time.
Now more than ever, a lot of people, businesses and organisations will be entirely dependent on the kindness of others to pull through and survive this global disaster. We will have to look out for each other, extend a helping hand where possible and be compassionate.
Maybe this reflection on what is essential in our existence is the life-lesson that will come of all this. We are all dependent on each other to survive and flourish, and it is the compassion we have for each other that is the ultimate enabler.
There are many worthy causes out there, each one of them as deserving as the other. One organisation that is entirely dependent on the kindness of others is the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, a registered animal rehabilitation centre near Gravelotte, in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
SanWild was founded 20 years ago by the late Louise Joubert. The organisation rescues wild animals, rehabilitates them and releases them onto the 2,600-hectare SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary. It has become the release site for many wildlife rehabilitation centres across South Africa. The sanctuary is unique in the sense that the land is held in a trust with the animals being the only beneficiaries, effectively making them the owners of the reserve.
SanWild has a seven-member anti-poaching unit (APU) on the ground to protect the animals in its care which includes highly targeted elephants, rhinos and lions. A farm manager and four staff members manage the sanctuary infrastructure and rehabilitation centre. Other operational expenses include diesel for anti-poaching patrols and animal feed for rescued animals. SanWild has been and still is entirely dependent on donations from the public to cover these expenses.
It has become increasingly challenging to raise the required funds every month through donations alone. For SanWild to survive and thrive in the future, new self-sustainability initiatives will have to be launched. To realise this, a comprehensive restructuring of the organisations began six months ago. A new management team have been appointed on the ground to run the sanctuary while a new board of trustees volunteering their time and services took over the management of the trust.
Going forward, SanWild will open its doors to visitors and work alongside wildlife organisations to help rescue wildlife, not only locally, but also internationally from circuses and zoos as it has done successfully in the past.
A Conservation Participation Program for individuals who want to participate in conservation activities like animal rescues and sanctuary operations is in the process of being launched. Young and old participants would have the opportunity to stay at the comfortable SanWild Tended Lodge while accompanying rangers on rescue missions and the daily management activities on the sanctuary. This opportunity will also allow participants to explore tourist attractions in the area and visit other conservation initiatives that do fantastic work. The income generated through this once in a lifetime experience for conservation enthusiast will go towards the operational costs of the sanctuary.
Sadly, the Corona Virus outbreak has thrown a spanner in the works, and the programme launch had to be placed on hold until life returns to normal. For the next couple of weeks, funding ongoing operations will be challenging, and the sanctuary will be entirely dependent on the goodwill of the community to help meet their monthly obligations.
SanWild is reaching out to everyone to assist where possible, be it financially or through the donation of services and goods.
The following items are desperately needed on the ground:
- 30 Litres of diesel (R500) per day for APU patrols and general Sanctuary duties, i.e. checking and cleaning out water throughs and lion enclosures, feeding the lions, fixing water pipes, checking and repairing perimeter fences, etc. ($30 per day)
- Salaries of R5,000 for each of the 7 APU rangers ($300 each)
- Rations for the APU rangers totaling R3,000 ($180)
- Wages of R3,300 for each one of the four farm and rehabilitation employees ($198 each)
- Rehabilitation centre animal feed totaling R2,000 ($120)
- 300kg Meat a week for the lions totaling R2,000 per month ($120)
- Donations towards the Sanctuary Manager’ salary R10,000 ($600)
If you can assist or would like to partner up with SanWild, please reach out to Lizel Kachelhoffer at [email protected].
FREE AND DISCOUNTED ACCOMMODATION AT SANWILD'S LODGE
In appreciation of donations, SanWild would like to offer free and discounted accommodation* in the Tented Lodge to donors and sponsors who are helping the Sanctuary bridge this difficult time. Please email us for more information on [email protected]
Every donation no matter how small adds up and will help SanWild continue its conservation work. We will keep you updated on the progress made. For more information, visit www.sanwild.org.
*Terms & Conditions: One night accommodation for two people sharing in luxury tent. Excludes meals and transport.