It all began in 1999 when Trafalgar resident, Dorothy McIntyre, brought a tiny 360 gm blue duiker calf which had been caught by a cat, to Craig Hosken and Ina de Koker who lived at Crag’s View, in the Port Edward area.
Ina and Craig, largely inexperienced at the time in the rehabilitation of wild life, contacted Lyn Milton who ran the Orphanage for Wild Life (OWL) in Paddock for advice. Miraculously, the tiny creature was a fighter and survived the mauling. And so began a journey for Craig and Ina, who both sensed a definite calling to take care of and rehabilitate sick, injured or displaced creatures of all kinds.
There were challenges, however, as one cannot simply take in and harbour wildlife, even with the best intentions, as the law protects our fauna and flora. Persons embarking on such a venture must apply for permits from the relevant authorities, in this case Ezemvelo Wild Life, in order to take in and care for sick and injured creatures, and there are very strict conditions attached.
Then there was the matter of finance, as it is obviously costly to accommodate, feed and give veterinary care to and rehabilitate sick and injured animals. In order to raise funds from the public, a Section 21 Company not for gain needed to be formed which required at least seven ‘founding members’. Fortunately such support was available amongst like-minded persons in the community.
And so the process of complying with the requirements got underway in 1999 and by 2002 Crag’s View Wild Care Centre was finally authorized to continue its very valuable and compassionate work in the community.
Crag’s View has grown and today, twelve years later, Ina and Craig continue to take care of the sick and injured animals in a well organised and suitable environment which affords every opportunity for rehabilitation and release back into the wild. They are assisted by a permanent cleaner and volunteers, as well as school children undertaking community service, and those seeking ‘work experience’.
Whilst caring local veterinarians perform the initial assessments and provide any emergency treatment, generally free of charge, sick incapacitated animals need close and on-going care. Feeding is often a tedious affair and medications must be administered frequently. Ina, who has a passion for animals, has received training at the ‘Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife’ (CROW) and has also attended an international course on wildlife rehabilitation and care, which qualifies her to render the care so often desperately needed by the animals. In addition, Ina has developed an intuitive sense and learned much from her mentor, Lyn Milton of OWL, who gradually, over the years, relinquished the care of animals to Crag’s View Wild Care Centre.
Over the years, Ina and Craig have taken in many sick and injured animals, including some rather unusual species. On one occasion, a Zebra foal, which is not endemic to the area, was rescued from a failed community project where a herd of Zebra had been kept. Unfortunately, this little fellow did not survive.
The centre has also cared for a Scrubbs Hare, a Clawless Otter, a Natal Red Rock Rabbit, a Tree Hyrax (an endangered species) and many Blue Duiker, Bushbuck, Genet Cats, Mongoose and even a Black Backed Jackal. Small birds are transferred to the care of Michelle Pearson, who has experience in this field, but raptors find temporary sanctuary at Crag’s View until rehabilitated, and have included a Peregrine Falcon, Crown Eagle, Long Crested Eagle and a Marsh Harrier. Snakes are transferred to Pure Venom in Shelly Beach.
It is no doubt very tempting to form bonds with the rescued animals, but this needs to be avoided as Crag’s View is primarily a rescue and rehabilitation facility and the purpose is to release the animals back into the wild.
Clearly, these activities cannot be undertaking without funding. Holding facilities must be built and maintained, foods and medicines bought and staff paid. Crag’s View is sanctioned as a wild life rehabilitation facility and, as such, is excluded from benefiting from paid visitations from the public. The means of acquiring the income required to keep the Centre functioning is through fundraising. The Centre relies on the generosity of the public through fundraisers such as golf days and raffles. Importantly, one can also ‘adopt’ an animal and so financially assist with the cost of its rehabilitation.
Any person or organisation who wishes to assist this very worthy cause can contact Ina on 071 5455054 or Craig on 073 7491059.
Please also visit their website on www.cragsview.co.za for more information on Crag’s View Wild Care Centre.
How to get there...
Address: Crag’s View (farm), Izingolweni road, D595, Port Edward, KZN