to the listing of the baboon
(Papio ursinus), vervet monkey
(Cercopithecus aethiops), red jackal (Canis mesomelas), caracal (rooikat)
(Felis caracal) and bush pig (Potamochoerus porcus) species as
"VERMIN" or "PROBLEM" animals by the South-African
Provinces, it is the cause of huge misconceptions.
This cruel law (ordinance) condemning the above five species to extinction, has
resulted in people and various bodies exploiting and abusing these
For example, a vervet monkey may cause a bit of damage by
helping itself to food in a garden at Mussina (a small town in the Limpopo
Province), yet the public has the right to eradicate a troop,
in Cape Town (Western Cape Province) 2000 Km away, where no damage has
In a letter from a former Minister of Agriculture, Dr Kraai van Niekerk,
he stressed the fact that one cannot proclaim a species as "VERMIN
or PROBLEM" animals, but individuals may become such.
Because of the exploitation and abuse of these listed and other wildlife
species, the RIVERSIDE WILDLIFE REHABILITATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION CENTRE (RWREC) was founded and developed. With a specially
designed programme we provide a temporary sanctuary for vervet monkeys
and other wildlife casualties that have been taken out of the wild and
kept in captivity or being used as pets. It is common knowledge that
wild animal species do not make good household pets especially the
vervet monkey biting the family, friends and breaking nearly all
ornaments and other valued household items. At this point they lose
their cuteness and the owners must get rid of them, with very limited
options. Either to be handed over to the Authorities and other
organisations to be killed or to be used in bio-medical research
The casualties that result from this cruel Law, are anthropogenic in
their cause and therefore, a need for wildlife rehabilitation centres
was vitally important. A rehabilitation centre such as RWREC plays an
important role and helps to alleviate a great deal of this problem, by
providing the much needed service to the abused animal wildlife, the
communities, public and Government at large.
Because the vervet monkey, baboon and predatory species in our country
are misunderstood (due to the stigma attached to them being listed as
"VERMIN"), it has given them a bad image in the eyes of the
public and the farming communities.
In our desire and commitment to improve the living standards of the
vervet monkey undergoing rehabilitation, we moved away from the
traditionally conventional rehabilitation methods and techniques, e.g.
only accepting baby vervet monkeys with the adults being euthanized by
In our rehabilitation program we are now using the natural instincts of
adult females to assist with the fostering of babies in the program. We
went further and developed electrified steel wire mesh enclosures
incorporating natural plants, trees and shrubs, in which we are able to
rehabilitate the vervet monkeys and other wild animals in a natural
It has been acknowledged by major animal welfare organisations and the
media that this concept of using huge enclosures introducing different
types of animals to each other is a major break through in not only
non-human primate rehabilitation but also for the other species.
Introducing this method we have opened a window into the vervet monkey
aethiops) and other wildlife species' behaviour. This window is allowing
us to observe the secret life of this remarkable yet most misunderstood
non-human primate, and other species undergoing rehabilitation.
Our projects demand long studies especially with the vervet monkeys. Our
initial study of the vervet monkey troop and other species dynamics was
the classroom in which we gained hands on experience from which our
introduction techniques were developed.
At the onset of this project it was felt that a minimum of eight to ten
years would be required to study and monitor all phases of a vervet
monkey troop dynamics: composition, introduction, integration,
development, behaviour and eventually release back into the wild.
Rehabilitation duration on other species varies from species to species.
It is perceived that vervet monkey rehabilitation is fraught with
problems, virtually impossible, and projects like ours were frowned upon
and shrouded in negativity. Yet with our scientifically based
methods and techniques we have not only succeeded with the
rehabilitation of vervet monkeys but also reduced the above mentioned
period to approximately 3 years. Our organisation is therefore committed
and devoted to the study of the vervet monkey and other wildlife
species. In return we can use and offer this knowledge for the
betterment and survival of any vervet monkey or other wild animal
species once becoming endangered.
With the current growing public awareness of the plight of misused
non-human primates and other wildlife species, it is vital that
programmes like the ones currently in place at our centre is maintained
to cope with all future casualties.
Because of our wildlife rehabilitation success rate we identified the need
to educate the human species which is the main cause of the depletion of
nature and its inhabitants. Therefore our organisation does not only deal
in the welfare of wildlife, it is committed to educate the public,
especially the youth, underprivileged and disabled, in sustainable
utilization of all natural resources.
Due to the regular influx of wild animals in distress we obtained land
situated near Letsitele in the Limpopo Province in 1995, which we are constantly
developing and upgrading to cater for all their needs.