The Dullstroom Bird Of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1997 and has been located at its present site since November 2004. The Centre’s original aim was as an educational centre, teaching members of the public about raptors and promoting an awareness of the raptor species and their plight as a growing endangered species. The need for care of injured and orphaned birds of prey prescribed the evolving of the rehabilitation centre as well.
The time has now come where the province is in desperate need of facilities that cater for all species; hence the vision has expanded the education and rehabilitation facility to encompass all species of wildlife.
The Dullstroom Bird of Prey Centre is managed by the Wildlifesos Trust (IT000101/2015(M/N)) and incorporates Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. We are a non-profit organisation (169-719 NPO) (930053148 PBO) and receive no subsidies from the government. We rely solely on the generosity of the public and corporate communities to ensure we achieve our goals and remain sustainable.
The entities work independently from, but under the close guidance, supervision and permission of the Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency. This dictates a standard of professionalism, ethics and accountability to the Province we service and the public who support us. Having permits for wildlife educational centre (MP/EDU/90001) and a wildlife rehabilitation centre (MPB/R/0019).
As a permitted Wildlife Education Centre, our main drive is to educate the public as to the plight of raptors and this we achieve largely with our flight demonstrations, handling days, and photographic days at the centre. We also do educational displays at schools and at other venues if required.
Here at the centre, when we fly birds, it is done for fitness and rehabilitation purposes. This is necessary work to get birds ready for release back into the wild. Some birds cannot be released but still need to be flown to keep in shape and optimal health. The flight displays are therefore not viewed as “entertainment” but rather as necessary for the welfare of the birds. At the same time it is a great opportunity to educate the public as to the plight of raptors.
Indigenous wildlife that comes through the rehabilitation centre, but are deemed non-releasable, we are able to give a home to where they can act as ambassadors for their species. As we take in all species of wildlife, our walk through enclosures are not only of raptors, but of selected other species as well.
Development is consuming thousands of hectares, covering the indigenous bush with roads, housing estates and factories. Orphaned, abandoned, injured and displaced indigenous birds, mammals and reptiles are in need of assistance. The majority of these animals end up either at veterinary facilities or zoos. Wildlife rehabilitation centres fall between these two areas and cater specifically for injured or orphaned indigenous wildlife species.
Annually, hundreds of raptors are injured or killed by vehicles, fences, traps, power lines, poisons or are illegally removed from nesting sites. We rehabilitate scores of survivors annually in an attempt to give them a second chance. The rehabilitation process for a wild animal is a very intensive period which incorporates various factors, including veterinary treatment, correct dietary provisions, adequate enclosures and as little human interaction as possible. Releases take place in carefully chosen areas including reserves and conservancies, but wherever possible, animals are returned to their original location.
Wildlife Rehabilitation is very necessary, and has a very important role to play in conservation. There is a dire shortage of professionally run rehabilitation centres for wildlife in South Africa. There are a number of animals that are endangered and whose gene pool is very limited, so every individual saved is beneficial to the species as a whole.
WHY WAIT FOR A SPECIES TO BE ENDANGERED BEFORE SOMETHING IS DONE ABOUT THE SITUATION.
Wildlife Rehabilitation is NOT about interfering with nature. In fact, it is taking responsibility for the wildlife casualties caused by human activities! Sadly, the vast majority of cases admitted are the direct result of conflict or interference by man. Rehabilitated animals are given a “second chance” to be released back into the wild to be free.
We never want to imprint babies (or tame any animal) that crosses our doorstep, as successful release depends on maintaining the animals’ inherent instinct and wildness and VERY IMPORTANTLY, retaining their natural fear of man. That is why human contact is kept to the absolute minimum and for this reason the Rehabilitation Centre is not open to the general public.