Isolde Mellet establishes the Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife in August 1977, recognising an urgent need for a rehabilitation centre that could care for injured wildlife and educate the public about the need to protect natural resources. At this stage, she was running C.R.O.W. out of her garage, receiving 150 wild birds and animals every month.

1979: C.R.O.W. finds a Home in Yellowwoord Park

Isolde manages to raise R73 000 needed to turn the “Old Coedmore Waterworks” into a wildlife rehabilitation centre that still operates on the same site today. The waterworks was built in 1916 and closed in 1976.

The sterile sand pans are converted into large walk-in aviaries. Open marches, lagoons and enclosures are created to accommodate the various animals that C.R.O.W. cares for.

1980: C.R.O.W. Opens its Doors

C.R.O.W. opens at its new premises and soon starts admitting monkeys, birds, reptiles, antelope and countless other wild animals that are either injured, displaced or orphaned.

The 4 hectare property has 85 enclosures that are divided into the aviaries, the mammal blocks, ICU blocks and primate blocks to accommodate all sorts of animals.

1995: Rhino Boma Built

In late 1995 Tholiwe, an abandoned rhino calf, was brought to us by the Natal Parks Board after being found without his mother in Imfolozi. A boma was constructed at the bottom of the property to accommodate Tholiwe and other large game animals.

A tiny little thing, coming up to about hip-height, Tholiwe was bottle-fed and settled in under an army of heat lamps and cooing volunteers and caretakers.


C.R.O.W. receives its accreditation from the “National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” (NSPCA) and becomes the first full-accredited wildlife rehabilitation centre in KwaZulu-Natal, with licences to treat any wild animal, marine or otherwise.