Shamwari Private Game Reserve, outside Port Elizabeth, opened their R5 million Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre this week.
The project, hailed as a major step for SA conservation, aims to care and treat injured, ill or abandoned animals before releasing them back to the wild.
The project, part of the $25 million (R348m) investment in Shamwari by the reserve’s owners, Investment Corporation Dubai, focuses on rehabilitating animals without habituating them to humans.
Shamwari chief exeuctive Joe Cloete said, it was an important step in the fight to preserve Africa’s biodiversity and natural splendour.
“This operation has become an epicentre for successful wildlife rehabilitation, and the facilities we’re opening will be integral to that. It will also be the new home to the Wildlife Rehabilitation team under the stewardship of wildlife vet Dr Johan Joubert and ecologist, John O’Brien.
“They will apply and share their accumulated experience, knowledge and expertise with professionals across Southern Africa. It’s also integral to the Shamwari experience, providing a rare insight into the complex business and day-to-day realities of environmental conservation, Cloete added.
Shamwari is pivotal in restoring the region’s rich ecology and attracted or re-introduced an abundance of animals, birds and insects for the past 25 years.
“Our continent’s once-bountiful wildlife is under pressure as never before, so rehabilitation of sick, abandoned or injured wildlife is an important component of wildlife preservation.”
The Born Free Foundation, which jointly funds two sanctuaries at Shamwari, provides lifetime care to several big cats which have been rescued from poor conditions in circuses, zoos or private owners around the world.
Shamwari has refurbished all of its lodges as part of Investment Corporation Dubai’s investment, upgrading all aspects of the reserve’s operations to new standards in luxury, service and hospitality. These include new menus, wine lists, new coffee experience and a new spa brand.