Diminishing Lands

Diminishing Lands & the Urgent Need for a Sanctuary

• Farming continues to expand and urban areas and populations creep rapidly into previously undeveloped areas of all habitats including fynbos and forest biomes. These habitats (and others) are/ were home to indigenous species in bio rich ecosystems.
• The Western Cape 2014 Biodiversity Framework highlights how natural systems are disappearing, and how important it is to maintain all the diverse ecotones, and the wildlife species which naturally occur in these zones.
• Sanctuary and rehabilitation centres that are managed effectively and correctly will play a crucial role in nature conservation in the Western Cape and South Africa, contributing towards research and education for the protection and conservation of species and habitats, and will be for the direct benefit of future generations of South Africans.
• Initially an urgent need was identified to provide a sanctuary for indigenous primates in the Western Cape, namely the chacma baboon, and the vervet monkey. Primates were of particular concern for the founder who had been working for the chimpanzees at Chimp Eden.
• The Manger (CROW – W.Cape) had filled a need to care for injured and orphaned baboons – but closed in 2012. It had become financially unsustainable, and there was no proper succession plan in place after the death of its founder Peter Fraser.
• Almost 120 baboons were “euthanized” by being shot, and 20 baboons were “saved” and sent to Tenikwa in the Crags (these baboons have subsequently been sent to a sanctuary in the Limpopo province, as Tenikwa did not want primates).
• In 2014, the Darwin Primate Group based in the Crags in the Tsitsikamma Forest area, which had provided a rehabilitation centre, and gave sanctuary to baboons and monkeys, was forced to stop functioning due to problems with an Australian sponsor who held the land title deeds, and withdrew support.
• There is no other organisation which is prepared to, or is able to provide adequate facilities for primates in the Western Cape either as a sanctuary to injured or orphaned animals, or as a facility for rehabilitation.
• The founder had discussions with various conservation groups/conservancies, and they confirmed the dire need for a rehabilitation centre and sanctuary in both the southern Cape and the whole of the Western Cape for all wildlife, as currently they have to euthanize the majority of wild life which are reported to them due to lack of facilities. The wildlife that were specifically mentioned were monkeys and baboons, several species of antelope, tortoises, porcupines, hares, foxes, raptors and other birds (coastal species go to SANCCOB).
• Karoo Wildlife Centre has recently started a rehabilitation centre and sanctuary, and has good experience with raptors and several other species. Wild Rescue plans to work with KWC for the best possible solution for each animal’s specific needs.
• There are very few wild places in the Western Cape which are neither inhabited by other troops (primates) or individuals (territory), nor inhabited by aggressive people whose aim is to decimate the ‘problem’ species. This means that if there is no safe release site for animals they have to be euthanized or retained in the sanctuary.
• Special permits need to be given for any wildlife to cross the provincial border. This occasionally happens for transporting animals to another sanctuary, but it is highly unlikely that a permit would be given to release animals into the wild in another province.
• It is anticipated that the long-term sanctuary will need to provide care not only for those animals who are unable to survive in the wild due to injuries, but also those wildlife who cannot be released back into their natural habitats and home range, such as caracal, jackals, baboons, monkeys and a number of other species.
• Should these animals be released into their home range, it is highly unlikely that they would survive and would most likely suffer the same injury (for example, trapped, shot or poisoned) or in the case where orphans are rescued, they would suffer the same fate as their parents.

“Here we are, the most clever species ever to have lived. So how is it we can destroy the only planet we have?” – Jane Goodall