Wild Rescue

Wildlife Sanctuary

Wildlife Sanctuary

We believe that all wild animals should be wild.

Unfortunately, some wild animals are never given this opportunity. The illicit trade in, along with unscrupulous breeding of, wild animals for pets, circuses & petting zoos, causes unimaginable suffering to millions of animals every year.
For the lucky few who are seized by the authorities, or given up by their owners, the future is often grim. These animals can rarely be released back to the wild and, without sufficient sanctuary space, would face certain euthanasia.

Our aim, at Wild Rescue Sanctuary, is to give a second chance to wildlife which cannot be released, by providing the best possible care in an enriched, natural environment.

The sanctuary also provides us an ideal opportunity to facilitate knowledge exchange – about our resident species, as well as about the broader issues threatening our biodiversity and the natural balance of ecosystems.

We hope to foster a genuine relationship between people and nature by demonstrating our fundamental inter-reliance, whilst highlighting the intrinsic value of each individual animal & plant.


At Wild Rescue, we assert that our sanctuary residents have the right to fresh, seasonal, species-appropriate food.

Foraging is encouraged by growing appropriate plant species within each enclosure. This not only allows animals to vary their diets according to their individual needs, but also provides them with the opportunity to express their natural behaviours.
This forage-first approach is appropriately supplemented with fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, eggs, and animal proteins.

Our sanctuary animals will never be released into the wild and thus do not need to hone their hunting skills. As such, we do not provide live-feed to any of our sanctuary residents. Prey animals & other animal protein is strictly sourced from reputable organisations which humanely raise and euthanize these animals under the Five Freedoms principles.
Our Indigenous Nursery and dedicated feed gardens provide the bulk of the supplementary plant material needed to keep our sanctuary residents happy & healthy.


We strongly condemn the exploitation of animals for any purpose.

As a wildlife sanctuary, our priority is to provide previously mistreated wild animals an opportunity to live out their lives in a close-to-natural environment, while receiving the health-care and safety-from-harm that they deserve.

Consequently, we do not allow any direct interaction between members of the public and our sanctuary residents.
Visits to the enclosures, guided by a knowledgeable carer, can be arranged on request. Visitors are encouraged to explore the trails meandering past the enclosures and are welcome to watch – quietly and from behind the barrier fences – as these wonderful animals go about their daily lives.


Although we acknowledge the necessary work being done elsewhere to rescue particular species from extinction, Wild Rescue operates under a strict no-breeding policy.

The negative impact of breeding on our capacity (and that of other sanctuaries) to assist existing wildlife in need, outweighs any potential benefit that child-rearing may have for our residents. In addition, pregnancy introduces unnecessary risk to the health & wellbeing of our residents – who may already be recovering from a variety of acute or lifelong health challenges.

Wild Rescue prefers to accommodate animals of different genders in separate enclosures.
In cases where this would negatively impact the social needs of that particular species, reversible contraception methods – according to the requirements of the animal – are used.
We accept that in some cases, permanent sterilisation may be necessary, but careful consideration will need to be given to potential long-term implications.



Enclosures for our sanctuary residents are either purpose-built or customised to meet their species-specific needs. We currently have two such enclosures – a roughly 400sqm tortoise enclosure, as well as a >1000sqm monkey enclosure.

Our tortoise habitat is enclosed with 1.2m above ground mesh fencing and >600mm below ground barriers. It has been divided into two camps allowing us to separate the female & male tortoises from each other. Each camp has a shaded walk-in watering hole as well as an insulated sleeping “cave” which is extended in summer with shade cloth. Indigenous bushes provide natural shelter and, along with groundcover plants, an opportunity to forage freely.

Our monkey habitat is enclosed with 3m above ground mesh fencing topped with a primate-appropriate electric barrier, and >600mm below ground barriers. This enclosure has also been divided into two camps, creating options for future introductions and integrations.
Each camp has a spacious night room, complete with sleeping platforms and feeding station, which can be closed off to the larger enclosures if needed. Feeding platforms are replenished through a double-gate system, allowing daily diet supplementation without a carer needing to enter the enclosure. Each camp has a running water feature as well as an additional drinking point which is cleaned & filled daily.
The variety of indigenous vegetation creates a number of micro-environments within each enclosure, ranging from open-sky sandy areas, to dense bush cover, through to tree thickets. This environment is enriched with rope bridges, pole playgrounds, “tree kennels” and high perches.

To ensure our readiness to assist in urgent cases, we have a third, fully functional, generic enclosure.
This hexagonal enclosure is roughly 600sqm, with 3m above ground mesh fencing and >600mm below ground barriers. It has a double gate entrance and separate emergency gate.

In addition to this, we have already identified and started site preparations for the 4th enclosure.
Depending on the need, we will either purpose build an enclosure here for our next resident, or customise the hexagonal enclosure and use this site to build a new “generic” enclosure.

This arrangement ensures our residents have the best possible homes, whilst keeping a space available for the next animal in need.

On-Site Clinic (Opening 2024)

To date, specialised veterinary care for our residents has been provided by our supportive & gratuitous vets in Stilbaai & Riversdale.

With the infrastructure for our own on-site clinic having been completed, we are on track to be fully operational by 2024. By reducing the risks associated with travel, we will be able to provide an even higher quality of healthcare to our sanctuary residents.



Common Names: Leopard tortoise, mountain tortoise; bergskilpad; mfutsu

This species of tortoise grows to be the largest in southern Africa and females tend to be larger than their male counterparts. Although not considered threatened or endangered, Stigmochelys Pardalis play an important role in the propagation of native flora.These tortoises are toothless and eat large quantities of grasses, succulents, flowers, fruits and other plants – they can also walk many kilometres to forage. This leads to nutrient dense scat, carrying a variety of undamaged seeds, being deposited far away from the originating plant – increasing the stability & biodiversity of our ecosystems.

Hatchlings & juveniles often fall prey to birds & reptiles, but the biggest risk adult tortoises face is human activity (consumption, pet trade, agricultural burning, domesticated dogs).

Currently there are 28 leopard tortoises in the sanctuary which are unable to be released back to the wild. These animals were confiscated by wildlife authorities from, or surrendered by, people keeping them as pets.
In the wild, these animals can grow to be over 100 years old, however in captivity they rarely reach half of that. Our oldest resident (Ouma) is over 60 years old, and our youngest (Tradle) is barely 5.

Please do not keep any indigenous tortoise as a pet – whether wild-caught or purpose-bred. They require decades long care; specialised housing, food & stimulation; and it is illegal to to do so without a permit.


Common Names: Vervet monkey, blouaap, inkawu, kgabo, ngobiyana

These mischievous old-world monkeys are one of only two monkey species found in South Africa. They are highly social and live in groups ranging from 5 to 50 individuals. Males are generally larger than females and will leave their troop to find a new social group, when they reach sexual maturity.

These monkeys are excellent at high-volume, wide-range, seed dispersal. Their preference for indigenous plants make them perfect partners in the rehabilitation of degraded & disturbed landscapes such as previously logged woodlands, abandoned mining sites, and areas recently cleared of invasive flora.
They are also a vital food source for their natural predators such as leopards, eagles, and snakes, and their abundance in the wild negates the need of these larger predators to target livestock. As predators themselves they can effectively control insect and bird populations which can cause havoc on crops.

Human/Vervet conflict – a result of human encroachment into their natural habitats & their willingness to exploit human-altered environments – often leads to the perception that these monkeys are pests, or vermin. Although this can cause distress for home owners and farmers, there are many effective ways of keeping them at bay without causing injury or death.
Despite this, thousands of vervets are mercilessly killed every year, and hundreds are orphaned, in misguided retaliation. This does not include those wild monkeys who are trapped for sale to laboratories or the pet trade.

Wild Rescue Sanctuary is now home to two adult, female monkeys.
These individuals were moved to Wild Rescue from other rehabilitation centres after being saved from lives of exploitation.
Sadly, resulting from years of habituation & mistreatment, all attempts to reintegrate them with a pre-release troop were unsuccessful. As such, the decision was made to provide them with life-long sanctuary care, and attempts are being made to create a surrogate troop at Wild Rescue by offering sanctuary to non-releasable vervets from other rehabilitation centres.

Although there is evidence that vervet monkeys have been kept in cages as far back as 2000BC, we highly discourage keeping them as pets. They require large enclosures and an unfathomable amount of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. In addition to this, individuals tend to become aggressive when brought up without the guidance of a troop.

860 691 Wild Rescue
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