Shamwari Private Game Reserve, outside Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, has opened its new R5 million ($360 000) Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.

Injured, ill or abandoned animals are treated at the centre and cared for before being released back into the wild. The new centre is part of a $25million investment in Shamwari by the reserve’s owners, Investment Corporation Dubai.

Shamwari CEO, Joe Cloete, says the new facility focuses on rehabilitating animals without habituating them to humans, so that they can be returned to their natural habitat.

“This operation has become an epicentre for successful wildlife rehabilitation and the facilities we’re opening will be integral to that. It will be also the new home to the Wildlife Rehabilitation team under the stewardship of wildlife vet, Dr Johan Joubert, and ecologist, John O’Brien.

“It’s where they and their team will apply and share their accumulated experience, knowledge and expertise with professionals across Southern Africa and beyond. It’s also integral to the Shamwari experience, providing a rare insight into the complex business and day-to-day realities of environmental conservation," says Cloete.  

He says over the past 25 years, Shamwari has restored much of the region’s rich ecology and attracted or re-introduced an abundance of animals, birds and insects. From the Big Five to the flightless dung beetle, each is a conservation success story.

An essential component of its operation is the expansion, management, development and rehabilitation of its land, following many years of farming. This effort, says Cloete, is paying dividends with the resurgence of wildlife and biodiversity to which Shamwari is now home. 

“Our continent’s once-bountiful wildlife are 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 that have been rescued from poor conditions in circuses, zoos or private owners around the world.

Shamwari has also refurbished all its lodges as part of the investment, upgrading aspects of the reserve’s operation, service and hospitality. These include menus, wine lists and a new spa brand.