Many people adopt rabbits, especially during Easter, without knowing the full consequences. Rabbits can be notoriously difficult to care for, especially for children. They need a lot of care such as food, daily exercise outside their cage and special food. Many people choose to "set them free" and leave them in a park. This is problematic as bunnies are domesticated, not wild, and they also breed, creating a population problem. Berario Bunnies and The Strawberry Foundation catch these rabbits and offer them TLC until they can be re-homed.
How you can help: donate cages, blankets and money; can volunteer to help catch the rabbits; foster and adopt rabbits.
Hedgehog Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre is based in Germiston. They take in injured hedgehogs and rehabilitate them. They will also offer homes to unwanted hedgies and care from them until they can be homed. The great thing about this rescue centre is that they do not discriminate against other animals. They also offer their services to other exotic animals like birds, reptiles, hamsters, rabbits and rats.
How you can help: donate items on their with list which include: bowls, waterbottles, fleece, newspaper, heating pads, wheels, hay, toys, cages, F10, cleaning products and food for kittens, rats, rabbits, crested gheckos, bearded dragons and hamsters; sponsor an animal; foster an animal and adopt.
We can't leave out cats and dogs. But there are just so many shelters giving love and support to these amazing creatures (thankfully). We couldn't fit it all into this article. Find out more about dog shelters in our Joburg Animal Rescues article. You can also read up on where to adopt pets in our nifty Best Places To Adopt A Pet article.
How you can help: As with all the other organisations on this list, the shelters mentioned in the above articles are always grateful to receive donations in the form of money, blankets, food, bowls and other items on their wishlist. The best way to help any animal charity is to adopt, don't shop.
Many people take in cute little piglets without knowing the needs of such a pet. When they realise the necessities of such animals, they often realise that they are not equipped to handle this. This is where Pigs 'n' Paws steps in. They home many unwanted pet pigs and give them all the care they require. They also take in doggos and pupperinos, because, well, who could turn away a pooch?
How you can help: sponsor a pig; donate building supplies, blankets and food; contribute to vet bills and volunteer.
Asher's Farm Sanctuary is based in Pretoria, but it's well worth the visit. They rescue farm animals and offer them forever homes, providing them with food, shelter and lots of love. Their animals aren't up for adoption but visitors are welcome to tour the farm, which is free of charge. They have an on-site store and vegan café (which serves the sought-after Beyond Meat Burger) and the proceeds from these go towards the care of the animals.
How you can help: go on a tour; support their shop and café; volunteer.
South Africa has an increasing feral cat population. Not many people or organisations know how to deal with these animals. Feral cats are not tame or stray. They are wild animals, many of which have had hard lives. Therefore, unless they are very young, they can't be homed. This does not make them a burden. They do help control the population of mice, rats, snakes and frogs. The best we can do for them is TNR - trap, neuter and return. This process involves feeding the cats in the same location everyday, the cat is then trapped so that they can be spayed or neutered. Cats can also be treated for any injuries at this stage. Then the cat is released back. Being sterilised will reduce the population over time. Several organisations can help with this such as Feral Care Friends, Feral Cat Assist and The Cat Foundation.
How you can help: provide food, water and warmth for the cats; check your car bonnet and other warm places on cold mornings before driving; donate to feral cat organisations; contact a feral cat organisation to assist with TNR and don't leave poison around for other pests like mice.
Unfortunately, South Africa has a lot of stigma about owls. As such, people fear them. Owls are also dying out because they get sick when eating poisoned rats, and other pests. Owl Rescue Centre in Hartbeespoort offers sanctuary to such owls. They home them and care for them but they never tame them. These owls get as little human contact as possible to remain wild. They take this a step further by preventing owl poisonings. How, you might ask. Well, they provide rat traps to the public, they will then collect the rodents caught in the trap and feed them to their owls. It's a win-win.
How you can help: donate money; donate plastic bottles (which they use to build owl house, bat houses and bee hives); give them your rats; don't leave out poison for pests and sponsor an owl.
Friends Of Free Wildlife is a community organisation that cares for injured or otherwise incapacitated wild animals in need of help. They are strong believers in rescuing, rehabilitation and then releasing the animals back into the wild. Animals that they help include wild birds, genets, jackals and bats. They will assist in any way that they can with any wild animal, whether they are on your property or are injured.
How you can help: volunteer your time; get a MySchool card and donate money or supplies. Click here to see their wish list.