With purpose built facilities we are committed to the rescue, care, rehabilitation, release and protection of wild animals, no animal in need is ever turned away. We rely solely on the generosity of caring individuals to fund the centre, and also volunteers to help us run the centre too.
Founded in 1989 by the late Rita Miljo as a refuge for a handful of baboons whom had been subjected to abuse by humans, C.A.R.E. has since grown into the largest rehabilitation centre for chacma baboons worldwide.
Based on the edge of the Kruger National Park in South Africa, C.A.R.E. is the perfect setting for wildlife rehabilitation and volunteers come from all over the world to help care for the baboons. We currently house around 450 baboons and are one of the only sanctuaries that have experience for giving refuge to orphaned and injured baboons in South Africa. We have an extremely high success rate of releasing hand-reared, fully formed troops back into the wild.
There was a devastating fire in 2012 which destroyed the main facilities and sadly Rita and three baboons died. Since then, the team have been dedicated to continue Rita's legacy. New facilities have been constructed with more are underway. A new Veterinary Clinic funded by IPPL and the Boda Trust was built in 2014, along with a new volunteer accommodation, new nursery, baboon kitchen and Education Centre.
2017 has seen the completion of an outdoor classroom, viewing hide for the Phase II baboons and orphan nursery viewing hide. We have also perfected our quarantine facilities in 2017 and continue to build new semi-wilds, renovate and improve the enclosures at the centre.
The team have also released three troops of baboons since 2012 along with many males as 'dispersing males' which have joined chosen wild troops.
The rehabilitation methods continue to be refined, meaning orphan baby baboons are quickly bonded to an adult baboon female which acts as the surrogate mother, this minimises time needing to be spent in captivity. We have purpose built bonding enclosures for orphan baboons to be adopted by a surrogate baboon mother.
The new Veterinary Clinic (above) and Education Centre (below) are custom built for C.A.R.E. to use to help care for and preserve South Africa's wildlife.
RESCUE AND REMEDY
It is C.A.R.E.’s priority to help any animal in need and we have a wide network of friends and colleagues within animal rehabilitation which usually means we can offer advice and recommend suitable facilities for the housing and rehabilitation of all South Africa’s wildlife.
C.A.R.E.’s main focus is the rehabilitation of chacma baboons and we will respond to calls at any hour of the day or night. Most of our rescue cases involve orphan babies which have been the result of their mother being killed by hunting, poisoning, traffic accidents and many more heartbreaking incidents. We rescue baboons of all ages and integrate them into troops from all backgrounds such as the pet trade, research laboratories and from witch doctors. We can offer help and guidance with possible solutions to ‘problem baboons’.
Most of the baboons which we rescue have been subject to physical or emotional abuse by humans and arrive often traumatised and dehydrated.
Contacting Us About an Animal in Need
Tel: +27 (71) 4633339 or
+27 (82) 5851759
If you have or know of a baboons or other wild animal in need of help, or would like some guidance please don’t hesitate to email or phone us and we will respond immediately.
If you find an infant baboon or other primate please contact us immediately as primates need specialist care. Keeping a baby primate in a human environment may damage the individual physically and psychologically and may also pose a threat to humans and household pets. Baboons and humans can catch and pass on most of the same bacteria and viruses. Baboons grow up fast and even a baboon of three months old can pull hair, scratch and bite if it feels threatened. The sooner the infant arrives into our rehabilitation program the quicker we can ensure an emotionally stable upbringing amongst other baboons. Please remember baboons are wild, intelligent animals and need to be treated with expert care and respect.
The success of the release of wildlife back into their natural habitat goes hand in hand with appropriate species-specific rehabilitation.
C.A.R.E. has been rehabilitating wildlife since 1989 and Rita Mijo, the founder of C.A.R.E. was the first person in the world to suceed in releasing a cohesive troop of hand-reared primates back into the wild.
Our main focus for any baboon which arrives at C.A.R.E. is to rehabilitate baboons into viable troops and release the self-sustaining troops back into their natural habitat.
C.A.R.E. specialises in the rehabilitation of chacma baboons (Papio cynocephalus ursinus) and has had incredible success in the release of their troops back into the wild.
Situated on the banks of the Oliphant’s River, in the middle of a stunning 3000 hectare ‘Big 5’ South African Nature Reserve, the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education is the perfect location for a wild animal rehabilitation centre.
C.A.R.E. greatly needs volunteers to help hand-raise baby baboon orphans, to assist with the rehabilitation of baboons, some of whom spent up to 13 years of their life in a lab-cage and to help animals which have been rescued from all sorts of circumstances. To be part of the animals healing; bonding with the baboons in a way that is incomprehensible to most, watching them grow in confidence, and to witness them becoming wild, sociable animals again, is an experience with unparalleled rewards; that any care-giver will never forget.
RELEASE BACK INTO THE WILD
C.A.R.E.’s goal for every animal which comes to the centre is to rehabilitate the individual and equip them for a life back in the wild. C.A.R.E. is very experienced when it comes to the release of baboons back into the wild, and has celebrated huge, pioneering success in this field of conservation science.
We successfully released troops of hand raised and second generation baboons into the wild on a number of occasions.
When we first began to release, official guidelines for releasing primates had not yet been implemented, and even today releasing primates into the wild is rare. Our methods closely match the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group’s Best-Practice Guidelines for Great Ape Reintroduction, created in 2007 (data.iucn.org/dbtw-wpd/edocs/SSC-OP-035.pdf), we are currently writing up our release protocols and experiences into scientific manuscripts in the hope to have them available and published soon.
Presently we are desperately searching for suitable release sites for our troops that are ready to be released. Releasing baboons into the wild is difficult and relies on many factors being correct. Our troops are ready, however it is the human elements of the release protocol which are difficult to overcome; finding suitable habitat where baboons are not likely to encounter conflicts with humans, land where baboons are welcome is scarce and fragmented.
If you feel that you know an area suitable for our baboons & which you feel we would gain permission from the land owners to release upon, please contact us!
Help continue Rita's legacy.....
You can help keep Rita's legacy alive through:
Making a vital financial contribution
Volunteering at the centre
Finding a suitable release site
Spreading the word about C.A.R.E.
Educating people about baboons
Sponsoring an animal at the centre
Everyone makes a difference, everyone can help.
Continuing the Legacy of C.A.R.E.'s Founder - Rita Miljo.
C.A.R.E.'s founder, Rita Miljo (1931-2012) died suddenly in a tragic fire which stole the lives of her and 3 baboons.
On the night of 27 July 2012 a fire broke out in Rita’s apartment, above the vet clinic and baby nursery. Alerted by the flames, the staff and volunteers ran to assist, but were turned back by the intense heat, unable to help Rita or Bobby (the first baboon that Rita ever rescued). The brave action of the staff ensured the evacuation of all 34 of the patients in the clinic and the young baboons sleeping in the nursery.
Rita and Bobby were laid to rest together in the same grave at C.A.R.E.
Rita’s childhood in Germany was enriched by her love of animals, and at the end of the war she hoped to study to be a vet. Circumstances did not permit this, and despite her family’s misgivings, she took a job at the Hagenback Zoo in Hamburg.
The lure of Africa and a chance to experience a great adventure prompted her to move to South Africa in 1953. So began a love of the bush and its wildlife, culminating in her buying a small farm adjacent to the Kruger National Park.
Her life took a tragic turn in 1972 when her husband and teenage daughter were killed in a light aircraft accident. It was to become Rita’s yardstick for difficulties in her life – whenever obstacles appeared she would say it was easy to deal with them as she had already had ‘the worst day of her life’.
The introduction of Bobby, a young female baboon, into Rita’s life was to play a significant role in her future. Whilst visiting South West Africa, Rita found the abandoned baby in an abused, malnourished condition. The little orphan touched her heart and was brought back to South Africa cuddled up on her knee. In the late 1980’s when Rita decided to relocate to her small farm next to the Olifants River, Bobby went too.
Word of Rita’s baboon and miscellaneous menagerie of animals soon reached the local community, and people started bringing injured, orphaned, and abused animals to her, asking for assistance. Despite being in the heart of the wildlife and game park area of the country, there was no other rehabilitation facility - the Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education (C.A.R.E.) was born, becoming an all consuming passion in Rita’s life.
The “Baboon Lady” soon had a collection of little primates, and started to question what to do with them as they grew older. Observing the wild baboons in the area, Rita became familiar with troop dynamics. It was apparent that individuals could not be integrated easily, and the idea of releasing a self sustaining, fully functional troop back into the wild began to take shape.
Rita’s attempts to find a suitable place to release her animals was met with fierce opposition from government Nature Conservation authorities. However, she persevered, finally securing a suitable site, and successfully reintroduced her orphaned troop back to the wild. This was the first of numerous releases over the years.
As word of Rita’s centre grew, so, many more orphaned baboons were brought to her for rehabilitation and nurturing, turning C.A.R.E. into the largest baboon centre worldwide.
For the past twenty years Rita’s life was dedicated to fighting for the baboons. Her quest has not been an easy one, she fought prejudice and ignorance, never shy to question authority and follow her beliefs.
As she pointed out “Ghandi once said that the measure of a civilised society was how they treated their animals. Is an animal only valuable once it becomes endangered?”
Her incredible journey dedicating herself to the chacma baboon’s cause was started by an act of kindness to one individual - Bobby – over 30 years ago. In an ironic twist of fate, a journey that started together also ended together.
In the last few years Rita had moved Bobby to her own ‘retirement flat’ – an enclosure on the deck of Rita’s first floor apartment.
On the night of 27 July 2012 the devastating flames claimed Rita's life. She is gone, but her fiery passion lives on in all those who were inspired by her. Rita entrusted her life's work to Scottish-born, Stephen Munro who has a degree in Animal Care and has been at the centre since 2003. Stephen carries her legacy on into the future.
Onsite Vet HospitalAt C.A.R.E. we have a Veterinary Clinic on-site to provide care to rescues and our animals. Anything which requires further medical attention gets rushed to our nearby trusted local veterinarians.
Rehab SpecialistsOur staff are educated and experienced! Rehabbing since 1987. Wildlife in need should only be in the hands of experienced rehabilitators otherwise the animals life is in danger or the animal itself can become dangerous.
Babies Grow Up!Orphan baby baboons grow into this! Ensure they get to rehab quick!
It's important to get them into a rehab setting at a young age so that they are never a safety concern. They learn so much when babies, so they must be around other baboons to learn how to be a baboon.