C.A.R.E. was established in South Africa in 1989 and was the first rehabilitation centre to specialise in chacma baboons. Historically baboons have been treated as vermin, and today they have the label 'problem animals', therefore forming a centre to rescue and care for the baboons has been an uphill battle since its opening. Despite the challenges C.A.R.E. has faced whilst pursuing the lifesaving work for the charming chacma baboons, C.A.R.E. has succeeded in the first organisation to rehabilitate baboons, forming a cohesive troop and releasing them successfully back into the wild.
C.A.R.E. celebrates achievements everyday on an individual level for different animals that need a helping hand, but here is a glimpse into some of the wonderful work achieved by the centre:
KC troop Orphans Wild and Free!
Orphan baby baboons were raised to form KC troop. After years of bonding and maturing finally KC troop have been released back into the wild.
The troop of nineteen individuals consisting of eight adult males, five adult females, four juvenile males and two juvenile females have been released onto a stunning Nature Reserve in Limpopo Province approximately two hours from C.A.R.E. The reserve is 18,000 hectares, not including the steep elevations. It is a stunning mosaic of various micro-habitats; rolling green hills, mountainous grasslands, ancient tree plantations, lush indigenous riverine forests, abandoned avocado & mango orchards & steep gorges. So far the troop overall is doing incredibly well.
KC troop orphans now free making their way to bed.
The Release of Cucuster Troop
C.A.R.E. successfully released Cucuster troop back into the wild. Following IUCN Guidelines the monitoring for this troop is ongoing. Danni, Devereaux, Dakota, Ingrid, Indi, Ellen, Ezra, Bess, Maple, Moxy, Madison, Chuck, Trilly, Natalie, Nikkita, Sally, Silas, Janet, Jupiter, Jackson and Buster have all been given another chance of freedom!
March 2010, Eastern Cape Sanctuary Rescue and Relocation
Stephen Munro and a small team undertook a 48 hour journey, each way, to collect Assisting Centre Manager Samantha Dewhirst and 16 baboons, Didi, Dolly, Pensi, Picoli, Neelsi, Tabu, Pistoli, Rico, Kajikah, Apie, Opah, Delport, Sussie and Maggie, along with 8 vervet monkeys.
The animals were threatened with euthanasia after the sanctuary which housed them closed down due to financial difficulties and the tragic, sudden death of the dedicated and passionate founder Margaret Van Loggenberg. Samantha researched every other 'primate rehabilitation centre' in the nearby provinces only to find they didn't really exist, or couldn't assist with 'adult animals'. Rita Miljo was the only person that welcomed the baboons and was quick to make a plan and get the funds together to give them refuge. The vervet monkeys are now living free at Bambelela and are breeding well, and the baboons were given a home at C.A.R.E. where they are undergoing rehabilitation for release back into the wild.
Henry's Troop Release (2006)
25 baboons; Chumble, LionChild, Teddy, Little Friend (Samantha), Jesus, Simon, Andorra, Pretty, H.D, Frazzle, HoneyPot, Stompie, Beverley, Henrietta, Blind Eye, Apple, Jill, B.B., Jack, Geoffory, Shark Boy, Jonas and Brother Bear were all given a new chance of freedom!
This troop were released on Mosdene Nature Reserve to faciliate the cross-over behaviour (dispersal) of the males and also to support the genetic viability of the troop released in 1996. A male born wild into the 1996 troop took over the new troop and quickly taught them the lay of the land. After 1 year a 75% survival rate was observed and 63% after 2 years. In the 2 years the troop gave rise to 4 babies to make up for initital losses. Males continue to move between the 2 troops and continue to thrive as a fully wild troop.
Lab Baboon Rescue and Release (2000)
Rita watched the release of baboons with ex-president Madiba Nelson Mandela who was on hand to watch the animals 'walk to freedom'.
C.A.R.E. successfully petitioned the local courts to gain the custody of 14 baboons held in appauling conditions at an experimentation facility - (C.A.P.E.).
The baboons were taken to C.A.R.E. in October 2000 and shortly after released into the wild. C.A.P.E has been found in the past to export wild-trapped baboons to the French military for testing. The centre has a ten-year history of abuse to primates. The project was assisted by IFAW, SAAV and BUAV. For of the adult males were released in April 2001 and the rest of the group were returned to the wild in the summer of 2002.
First Ever Rescue of Lab Baboons from a South African Lab (1996)
C.A.R.E. supported South Africans for the Abolition of Vivistecion (SAAV) who secured the release of seven laboratory baboons. These animals has been subjected to a decade of breathing in asbestos dust in the name of science.
The baboons all lived in solitary confinement in a 1mx1m cage.
This was the first ever time that South African lab animals had been allowed to live out the rest of their lives in a sanctuary instead of being killed at the end of the testing. The baboons were retired to C.A.R.E. and were housed in a 3 storey enclosure looking over the reserve.
The enclosure was funded with the help of Animal Rights Africa and also had a working waterfall, sprinkler system and sliding doors. Finally, all aged 18-20 years old they were able to live out their days in peace, being able to touch, groom and interact with their own kind again.
Critically Endangered Samango Monkey Breeding
C.A.R.E. housed Samango Monkeys at the centre rescued from various circumstances. The Samango's breeded successfully which is the first recorded instance of them breeding in captivity. Since the fire in 2012 C.A.R.E. rehomed the Samango monkeys to another centre whom has a semi-wild enclosure for the monkeys.
Rescuing Lions from the Canned-Hunting Industry
C.A.R.E. in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), coordinated the rescue and relocation of handreared lions destined for the 'canned hunting industry' - as seen on the British TV documentary 'The Cook Report'. Unfortunately this despicable practice still continues today. IFAW were instrumental in establishing the first ever Lion Haven within South Africa. Three lions were rescies and raised by C.A.R.E. and sent to their new home.
Presley the Porcupine Wild and Free!
A teenie, tiny porcupine was found besides his dead mother who was hit by a car. Thankfully he made it into good hands. Even when he was tiny his quills were coming through nicely! We raised him well with a fine balance between just enough human contact, but still encouraging him to be wild. With many special bottle feeds, bandage changes (Presley had nerve damage in his foot and lost half his toes) and some TLC Presley grew up enough to let him go free. It was a soft release and in the early days he was allowed to come back to his enclosure where he would sleep during the day and get some food... slowly but surely he came less and less and so finally we closed the doors. He has been spotted around now and then - easy to know it is him since he has a funny walk due to his missing toes.
It is so wonderful to know that this little fellow lives wild and can now make babies of his own.
Presley the porcupine as an infant.
Presley the porcupine released.
Biomedical Research Industry Baboons Rescued and Rehabilitated
(April 2010 - ongoing)
C.A.R.E. rescued with the help from Beauty Without Cruelty, 11 female baboons from the Biomedical Research Industry, where they all lived in small cages and some lived alone for upto 13 years! The baboons were destined for euthanasia, or to be sold onto another research institute for testing. The project has been well documented with measurable behavioural observations showing an increase in activity such as foraging and increased positive social interactions. The females have taken over a year to integrate into a social group, which now includes over 20 juvenile orphan baboons! The females and the juveniles are such a wonderful mix of energy and ages. The older girls are encouraged to play by the youngsters, and the youngsters can be carried around by the adult females, just as their mothers and aunts would in the wild. The volunteers and staff have loved being involved with this project and seeing the females progress from inactive, agressive and defensive ladies into playful, active baboons!
C.A.R.E. would like to thank Beauty Without Cruelty for sponsoring the females monthly food bills.
Tito Troop Release (2007)
Rescued from Vredefort Dome in 2002 the troop found a new home in the Bolobedu mountains! Tito, Tears, Bonnie, Zuker, Jambo, Mother, Colin-Matthew, Schatzi, Shirah, Rasta, With no other existing troops in the area, except the occassional dispersing male, C.A.R.E. attempted to repopulate the area with the cheeky chacma baboons. The release was a success with a 1 year survival rate of 80% and our last record, 29 months after the release, we managed to spot most of the troop members to confirm a survival of at least 64% with 5 babies born between September 2008 - January 2010. The troop also allowed 2 dispersing males to join them!
Dome Conservancy Release (March 1992)
The proposed world heritage site became home to a new troop of 17 baboons. The interaction with the resident wild troop assisted with their successful intergration into the area. Three babies have been born to the troop in the first year of their release. An additional troop of 18 baboons found refuge in a seperate part of the 18,000ha conservancy in December 2002.
Rescued From the Animal Trapper
Release of 31 Wild Caught Baboons (December 2000)
This group was confiscated from an animal trapper and had been desitined for laboratory use. Rita managed to interviene before the baboons were subject to a life in a lab and released them shortly after the initial capture.
First Successful Release of Hand-Reared Social Primates in the World (1994)
Rita Milo, founder of C.A.R.E. succeeded in the first release ever in the world of hand-reared, social primates.
10 hand-reared baboons were released as a troop and were integrated into the existing wild troop of baboons in the area. After 12 months a 70% survival rate was observed - a 30% survival rate for wild animal reintroductions was generally considered the accepted norm. This was an incredible achievement! Breeding has occured to supplement initial and natural losses.