CROW struggling to remain open
The wildlife sanctuary has lost more than R300 000 a month since the start of lockdown in March to combat the coronavirus.
This has jeopardised the maintenance of facilities, care for the animals and staff salaries.
The NGO based in Yellowwood Park, Durban, is sustained through community donations, volunteers and sponsorships.
For the past 40 years, the CROW has rescued, rehabilitated and released injured, orphaned or displaced animals, from pelicans, vervet monkeys, pythons and bush babies to otters and deers.
It is the only wildlife rehabilitation centre in Durban that is registered to work with all indigenous animals found in the province.
A recent case was the admittance of a female vervet monkey found burnt at a Phoenix school.
It was suspected the animal had been thrown into a braai or fire pit.
The animal was euthanised to end its suffering.
Alexander Kögl, CROW’s marketing and communications officer, said it admitted more than 3 000 animals to the centre every year, whose injuries and harm was commonly caused by human cruelty or urbanisation.
“Providing care for these animals is a specialised, dedicated and costly service and as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, we are completely donor-funded and rely on the generosity of the public to keep our doors open,” she said.
Kögl said the organisation also conducted educational seminars at schools as well as trained hundreds of local and international volunteers over the years.
“We have tried to foster a love and knowledge of conservation to the next generation through education, but the financial loss has been overwhelming.”
She said during a normal year, the volunteer programme was one of the largest sources of revenue that generated enough funds to help cover operational costs.
“Due to the lockdown and Covid-19 pandemic, we have been forced to turn away dozens of local and international volunteers or had to reimburse those who had already booked with us. We have lost most of the money we have made throughout the year. Without the income from the volunteer programme, keeping CROW operational is nearly impossible.”
As it stands, only R30 000 has been gained through fundraising initiatives, which was “just a drop in the ocean”.
“We are desperate to keep our doors open and need help so that we can continue helping voiceless, injured and innocent animals and continue to educate the next generation about conservation,” Kögl said.
The funds would go towards food for more than 300 animals at the centre, medication, veterinarian bills, clinic materials, equipment, building materials and tools for enclosure maintenance, along with salaries for nurses and ground staff.