Laure Boissat – France
Saying bye once is hard, and twice is even worse. Yet, coming back to CROW was the best decision I’ve ever made!
CROW contributes to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wild animals in the KZN province of South Africa. It was incredible to see this cycle completed – in the span of my 6 weeks there, many doves, hadedas, our pelican Terra and four jackals got released safely in various nature reserves.
CROW works only thanks to donations and fundraising operations, such as their yearly calendar campaign. The sale of the 2016 calendars allowed CROW to open a new baby antelope enclosure! Order yours and support CROW by visiting their website!http://crowkzn.co.za
I’m so grateful to have been part of the passionate team of volunteers and staff members working at CROW. I will be back for sure! 😊 Much furry love to you all. Xx
Peter Brown – England
Before I start here’s a few words of advice. If you’ve ever thought about going travelling and want to spend each day relaxing while doing a bit of volunteering on the side, then don’t come to CROW. If, however, you want to spend each day working as part of a fantastic team in an amazing part of South Africa, then this might be the place for you.
Whether you’re like me and decide to work as part of the PR and marketing team or whether you decide to take on a more hands-on approach by helping the clinic team, it’s safe to say you will never be bored. That’s because the team here is constantly in demand, taking on rescues on a daily basis and constantly working to improve and renovate the animals’ enclosures.
As there is only a small full time team here, it means CROW is heavily reliant on the efforts of its volunteers. It may sound like a big responsibility but it means you actually feel like a valuable part of the team, rather than just a tag along who is simply there for the experience.
And being busy is fun, especially when you are working for a cause you care about. Seeing the difference between the animals arriving at the clinic and those preparing to leave is simply amazing, so it gives me a real buzz to be able to help promote that work and share the centre’s messages with others.
This feeling probably came through most clearly when I joined the centre’ director Paul for a talk at Crocworld. Speaking to people after the event about this place, and hearing how much they respected its work is truly heart-warming – especially as a former journalist who is more used to people slamming rather than praising your profession.
Needless to say, joining CROW is something I would recommend to everyone, and is something I wish I would be spending more than a month doing. Just make sure you are prepared to work, and you will get so much out of it.
Alex Shortt – Ireland
It pains me to even type this but unfortunately my stay here at CROW has come to an inevitable end. Do I wish I could stay longer? Of course I do. Over the past 3 months I have gained more than just knowledge about working with wildlife here in South Africa.
I have gained professional relationships as well as friendships. I have worked with some of the most dedicated people I have ever met in rescuing and caring for injured or orphaned wildlife. And what a team CROW have. Once the staff saw my enthusiasm to get stuck in and my love of animals, they went above and beyond to teach me. As a long-term volunteer I can easily say I have seen and experienced each attribute CROW has had to offer. I have experienced the great highs and challenging lows that come with working in a rehabilitation centre for animals.
The thing I am most grateful for from CROW was their trust in me. I had the privilege of becoming a baby antelope Mum just after my first week of being here. That meant I had an essential role in the lives of these stunning baby antelope, bottle feeding multiple times a day/night and maintaining their enclosures to keep them as comfortable as possible. My first baby was little (now huge) Coral, a female bushbuck and then later I was introduced to the cheeky Grey Duikers, Teddy, Ajax, Tessa and Marco, another Bushbuck, Mr Jovi and finally a little Blue Duiker, Baby Brando. One of the hardest days here at CROW was when little Marco had to be put to sleep when his injuries proved too much. You have them hard days, but it pushes you to work harder in saving the animals you can. I decided to volunteer at CROW because I truly love and believe in what they do here. Every animal here will be released someday when it is healthy and of the appropriate age. CROW’s motto describes it perfectly “the best type of cage, is an empty cage”. Being on a release of an animal is nothing short of spectacular.
Luckily for me I have been on the release of Egyptian Geese, a Pelican, Mousebirds, a Sparrow, a Weaver, a Canary, African Wildcats and Spotted Genets. The joy you feel when you see the look on that animals face when it sees its new future for the first time is incredible. Terra, our Pelican was one of my favourite releases as he just stopped and stared for ages at his new surroundings taking it all in. You just have to take a deep breath and imagine what they must be feeling in that exact moment. Just that. That feeling is what CROW is all about and I will never forget that feeling for as long as I live.
Time has come for me to return back to Ireland to my dog Gus and my family, but I can easily say I will be returning to CROW again in the near future once I can so I will say bye for now, and until we meet again.
Slán go fóill, go dtí go gcasfaimid le chéile arís.
(CROW: JUNE-SEPTEMBER 2016)
Pauline Dgv, France
Cela faisait longtemps que j’avais envie de partir pour quelques mois en mission à l’internationale. Mon diplôme en poche, avant de me lancer dans la vie active, semblait être le moment idéal pour concrétiser ce rêve. J’ai rejoint l’équipe du CROW pour 6 semaines. Le CROW soigne les animaux sauvages blessés, ou incapables de survivre seuls, avant de les relâcher dans la nature. Ayant moi – même eu l’occasion de participer au sauvetage de bébés oies sauvages, c’est un plaisir de les voir grandir en sécurité. Ce que j’aime par-dessus tout au CROW, c’est le professionnalisme du staff : il s’agit non seulement de soigner les animaux, mais aussi de les préparer à leur retour à la vie sauvage. Il faut les nourrir tout en stimulant leur instinct de chasseur, et les soigner tout en limitant le contact avec les humains.
Le quotidien d’un volontaire consiste à nourrir les animaux-patients du centre et à nettoyer les enclos. C’est un travail fastidieux, mais chaque jour nous permet d’en apprendre un peu plus sur les espèces présentes. Le staff est accueillant et nous accorde sa confiance, on peut même se voir confier la responsabilité d’un oisillon ou d’un bébé antilope. Partir en mission au CROW est aussi l’occasion de vivre dans un milieu multiculturel en rencontrant d’autres volontaires internationaux. Une expérience définitivement enrichissante !
Taea Ramagnuolo – UK
Nadia Baur – Switzerland