On Tuesday night, Crow (Centre for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife) clinic manager Estie Allan was called out to rescue an injured baby monkey which could have been the result of being attacked by a dog ‒ and that was found by sheer chance.
“Being in lockdown level 4, the resident was bored during the evening and decided to go for a walk around the complex, which was when he saw the injured animal and called us,” said Allan on Wednesday.
The baby vervet is being treated, one of more than 300 animals at the rehabilitation centre.
Crow put out an urgent plea for help this week, saying that for the first time in 40 years the organisation may have to turn away injured animals because they are under extreme financial stress.
Based in Yellowwood Park, Crow rescues, rehabilitates and releases wild animals and birds.
Launching the Save Crow Campaign this week, Crow director Clint Halkett-Siddall said the lockdown had prevented the organisation from running fund-raising events, which had had a severe impact on their finances.
“Added to that is the impact on our volunteer programme. We normally have anywhere between six and 10 international volunteers, but we have only had five volunteers in total during the whole of lockdown, which has been a major blow,” said Halkett-Siddall.
One of the centre’s biggest costs is the feeding bill, which can include foods such as mulberry, hibiscus plants and indigenous figs for animals like tortoises and antelopes.
He added that the organisation had reduced costs by more than R50 000 a month with strategies such as planting an organic vegetable garden to provide food.
In the past two weeks, many of the Crow team have also had to go into isolation after experiencing Covid infections, which has also left a skeleton staff at the centre.
Halkett-Siddall said he would like to thank the Kloof & Highway and Durban SPCAs, both of which have been assisting the centre with rescues while Crow staff recover from Covid.
Halkett-Siddall also highlighted that the centre’s busiest season will arrive with spring, when releases take place, while it is also baby season at that time.
Mammal releases do not take place during winter because it is too dry and food resources are scarce.
“Around the end of August/September, we get a surge of baby birds and mammals, and that is definitely the busiest time for us.
“Releases will start in November, when the rains arrive,” he said.
“Any donation in any form is most welcome to keep our doors open to animals in need.
“All the support we have had during lockdown has been phenomenal, and we would like to call on local companies and individuals to assist us during this time,” said Halkett-Siddall on Wednesday.
Fundraising methods include the GiveGain crowdfunding campaign, or become a member of the 1000/100 club with a monthly donation of R100, or get involved in the Sponsor an Animal campaign being launched next month, as well as the 2022 Compass Crow Calendar, which is also due out in August. Support can also include direct donations, or there is a wish list on the website.
For more information on supporting Crow, go to www.crowkzn.co.za
The Independent on Saturday