- Rehabilitation
Vervet Monkeys


Rehabilitation Philosophy


- Restoration of normal /former capacities and position.

Defining the definition -
The most humane and professional way of accepting any injured, abused,  diseased or orphaned indigenous wildlife and the subsequent release of proper healthy rehabilitated wildlife into a natural habitat that can sustain their life in a safe and sustainable environment.

Rehabilitation of orphaned, domesticated (humanised) wildlife species to wild status and their release into a sustainable safe natural environment. To educate, train and change the perception and values of the public and communities to care for and to protect our indigenous wildlife heritage.


With the decimation of natural wildlife habitat, due to development, the ever increasing demand for consumptive use of wildlife and natural resources, more and more wildlife become in need of help, protection, healing and rehabilitation.

Questions can be raised as to why wild animals in need are not referred to veterinary clinics as they are obviously best equipped to deal with most cases. The answer is always the same; The veterinary surgeon would most probably be in a better position to heal injured or sick animals but does not necessarily have the knowledge or facilities to rehabilitate.


It is of utmost importance prior any attempt is made to take in or to accept any wildlife, (irrespective of it's condition) for rehabilitation, that the rehabilitator is equipped and qualified with all the necessary knowledge and skills relating to the specific species. This doesn't mean that the casualty on hand should not receive first aid treatment or at least some comfort, prior to being referred to the proper centre dealing with the specific species.

Dealing with injured, orphaned wildlife often allows human emotions to run high and can result in a very negative impact on the case - more than often resulting in death.

Rehabilitation of wildlife started in the early years of mankind when injured, orphaned, or diseased animals, birds and reptiles were healed and replaced in the wild by mostly farmers and individuals on small scale with limited classified literature. Techniques and skills were established but only recently classified. Rehabilitation during those early years was then considered a human moral obligation and responsibility.

As mentioned very little or no literature on healing or rehabilitation techniques existed when during the 1980's wildlife rehabilitation started on a broader and professional scale with the establishment of wildlife rehabilitation centres in South Africa. All literature, techniques, skills and knowledge that specifically detailed rehabilitation of wildlife and the preparation for their release into the wild from conservation authorities, farmers and individuals, was synthesized to help and assist with the increasing demand for healing and rehabilitation.

Rehabilitators developed their own healing and rehabilitation protocols and by studying the ethology of a specific species learned how to heal and rehabilitate wildlife, that had never been given a chance of survival.

Experience was gained with the hands on caring, monitoring and treatment of wildlife on long and more permanent basis. This hands on experience working with a specific wild animal species, made specialist and experts out of established rehabilitation centres dealing with such specific species. Equipped with all this synthesised knowledge and skills on specific species we are now in a better position to protect and to raise and care for any possible wildlife species that may face extinction in future.


There are several scenario's for the establishment of wildlife rehabilitation centres

1. Rehabilitation of orphaned, abused or injured wildlife for the benefit of the animals and the environment. Also to assist National and Provincial components of Nature Conservation dealing with their unique problems with confiscated or injured wildlife.

2. Rehabilitation of common & endangered wildlife species, maintaining their wild status. (In most cases it involves healing only.)

3. The need for a facility to cater for a specific wildlife species where no such other specialised centre exists.

4. When people under moral obligation for the care of animals obtain abused, orphaned or injured wildlife and start an improper facility (engulfed in emotion) without any rehabilitation or species knowledge. (This scenario is always forced on to the Dept. Nature conservation with highly emotional media coverage for the issuing of holding permits).

Strangely it is these facilities that always claim that they were unaware of the existence of established rehabilitation centres , trying to reinvent wildlife rehabilitation protocols to the detriment of the wildlife species in their care.

It is also these facilities that use the animals for their own vested interest running limp and lame zoos in their back yards, playing with public emotion for financial assistance and personal gain, claiming that they had to give up their normal lives, social activities and house space for the wildlife, just to appear in the media or TV.


Rehabilitation Programs  Volunteer
Riverside Facilities Contact Us Newsletter Links

Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation and Environmental Education Centre, P.O. Box 161, Letsitele 0885, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Phone: +27 (0)15 3451050, E-mail: river-edu@mweb.co.za, Website: http://www.primate-sa.org