‘Tis the season to be jolly, but also to be generous and kind. Many people want to support charitable causes over the festive season if they are able, but don’t always know where to start. Wildlife and environmental non-profit organisations in South Africa do incredible work for conservation and though not all of us can be heroes in the field, we can all make a contribution and make a difference in that way.
For most non-profits, finances are always a big concern because they rely solely on donations and sponsorships. Many of them also have online shops selling fun merchandise that might make for great Christmas presents if you’d like something tangible to show for your bucks.
We’d love to support every single organisation out there, but most of us can just choose one. So wherever your passion lies, take some time this December to actively participate in helping them stay afloat.
1. Dyer Island Conservation Trust
Their team of experts and passionate volunteers monitor, research and rehabilitate a host of marine animals including African penguins, great white sharks, southern right and Bryde’s whales and humpback dolphins.
Contact: +27 82 907 5607
2. Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary
Since its inception, Care for Wild has saved the lives of more than 100 rhinos that were the victims of poaching in some form or another. The teams rehabilitate, re-wild and release these rhinos into protected and healthy ecosystems to ensure the survival of the species.
Contact: 013 590 4448
3. Endangered Wildlife Trust
The EWT is committed to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa through three main strategic imperatives: Saving Species, Conserving Habitats, and Benefitting People.
Contact: +27 11 372 3600
4. African Pangolin Working Group
This incredible organisation works for the conservation and protection of all four African pangolin species, and often work with authorities to rescue pangolins from poachers.
Contact: [email protected]
WILDTRUST runs two core programmes: WILDLANDS and WILDOCEANS. WILDLANDS focuses on conserving terrestrial biodiversity, empowering and uplifting communities through training as well as the protection of wildlife.
WILDLOCEANS focuses on marine conservation, advocating for healthy oceans, marine protected areas and the conservation of marine species.
Contact: 033 343 6380
6. Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital
This dedicated team treats and rehabilitates injured or orphaned wild animals and accepts even the smallest of creatures free of charge. Their regular patients include bats, owls, raptors, mongoose, pangolin, meerkat, serval, genet, hedgehogs and bush babies. They often also treat wildlife that has been intercepted from poachers and the illegal trade.
Contact: [email protected]
7. Wildlife ACT
This passionate team works to save endangered wildlife and wild places in South Africa from extinction. They are also the only African volunteer organisation that works with and is supported by WWF. Some of the species they work with include wild dogs, rhino, leopards, lions and elephants.
Contact: +27 87 806 3293
8. SANParks Honorary Rangers
This group of more than 2 000 SANParks field rangers – all volunteers – works in South Africa’s national parks. They raise funds for and provide education about nature conservation, as well as running park maintenance and combating wildlife crime through projects such as their K9 anti-poaching unit, Project Watchdog.
Contact: +27 12 426 5000
The Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development organisation works tirelessly to rescue and rehabilitate elephant orphans, and re-wild and reintegrate them into a new herd. These calves are often orphaned as a result of poaching, leaving them highly distressed (sometimes injured) and in need of intervention.
Contact: +27 12 460 5605
10. The Orca Foundation
The Orca Foundation is a volunteer community dedicated to marine conservation, research, education and making a change in the effect humans have on the ocean and its inhabitants. They focus strongly on encouraging sustainable and conscious human-ocean interaction.
Contact: 081 724 5366
Article written by Anita Froneman
Feature Image: Pexels