Wildlife

We are committed to our credo that wild animals belong in the wild.

Our Wildlife Inspectors work to help wild animals in distress, and to bring an end to the illegal keeping, import and sale of exotic animals as pets.

Who We Are

Capetonians are fortunate to live in one of the world’s most environmentally rich cities; a city surrounded by natural spaces infused with wild plant and animal species, some found nowhere else on Earth but here.

With a human population of around 4.5 million people,  Cape Town is a city with Nature at its heart.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is proud to have its very own Wildlife Unit (only one other SPCA branch in the country has one), comprising a team of dedicated men and women who are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Our wildlife response efforts are endorsed and welcomed by all City of Cape Town environmental stakeholders including local and provincial authorities (law enforcement and conservation) as well as the NSPCA.

When Nature calls for help, we answer.

What We Do

Game reserves, pets shops, and wild animals caught in the legal and illegal trade.

We keep a proactive eye on facilities wherever wild animals are housed to ensure that the highest standards in animal care are being adhered to at all times.

This includes pet shops, animal sanctuaries, animal rehabilitation facilities, breeding farms, zoos, abattoirs, tourist attractions, airport cargo holds, film productions, institutions of tertiary education and wild animal reserves.

We further play an active role in the education and support of our community members in the proper care for and treatment of the wild animals in their environment, and to encourage communities to report animal abuse and cruelty to us and the relevant authorities in their area should they encounter it.

To report cruelty towards wildlife or for assistance with wild animals in distress, please call our Inspectorate on 021 700 4158/4159 or after-hours, weekends and public holidays on 083 326 1604.

How We’re Helping Wildlife

Cape Town has the most animal and plant species of any city in the world. The responsibility of caring for just the animal segment of the city’s biodiversity is huge. We work in close collaboration with our partners in conservation, science and civic society to support our efforts and help bring about animal welfare change.

Our key focus areas include:

    • – Wildlife kept as pets / the trade in wildlife.
    • – Wildlife used for public performance (circuses, theatre, etc).
    • – Curbing cruelty to all wildlife (including the use of snares, poisons, and the illegal hunting/shooting of wildlife), raising awareness of these issues.
    • – Eradicating invasive species.
    • – Rescuing injured wildlife including responding to disaster incidents such as oiled wildlife and wildfires.
    • – Educating people to live their lives in harmony with wildlife through advice and information.
    • – Participating in policy decisions when it comes to issues of wild animal welfare.
    • – Training our inspectors in all aspects relating to the proper legislation, identification, care and handling of wild animal species.

To learn more about our wildlife work, follow the Cape of Good Hope’s Facebook page

Useful Wildlife Articles

Beached Seals: What Should You Do?
Snakes - All You Need to Know
The Exotic Animal Trade in SA
Illegal Snares on Urban Edges
Baboons and us
Free as a Bird

Short-Term Wildlife Care Facility

The need for a specialist wildlife care and rescue department was identified as an urgent need at the outset when the Cape of Good Hope SPCA first began responding to wildlife emergencies back in 2000.

As the city has grown and expanded so too have the incidences of human-wildlife conflict and so we are ideally placed to handle any and all wildlife emergencies.

Equipped with a variety of pens, pools, aviaries, enclosures and a dedicated clinic to handle every species we commonly encounter (so from bats to baboons, rabbits to raptors, porcupines to pigeons, seals to snakes), our Short-Term Wildlife Care facility was purpose-built to enable the Cape of Good Hope SPCA to provide emergency treatment and short-term care to the widest range of wildlife should it be injured, sick or just needing of a safe and quiet place to recuperate.

Photo Credit: Sky News

Officially opened on 2 May 2012 by Marjorie Letoaba of the National Lotteries Board and Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Facility Ambassador and environmental campaigner, Lewis Pugh, our facility was a first for the city of Cape Town and leads the way in short-term animal care and welfare.

We are staffed by a dedicated team of wildlife carers with experience in all areas of wildlife care, conservation and management.

Designed by 4th Dimension Studios and built by R+N Master Builders, the completed 456 square metre department is conveniently located alongside the Inspectorate offices at the SPCA in Grassy Park.

The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) awarded funding of R3,993,115 for the development of the facility; to which we added a further R620 000 to enhance the original specifications, bringing the total building cost to R4 613 115.

Wildlife and You

When You Encounter Wildlife in Need

While out walking or driving, you may encounter injured wildlife, animals caught in snares, animals that have disappeared, baby/orphaned wild animals and animals on the road.

Here’s what you should do:

Injured Wildlife

If you find an injured wild animal, first try and ascertain how badly injured it is and what the cause of injury might be (e.g. hit by a car, bitten by a dog).

Watch from a distance.

Do not approach the animal or try to catch it or touch it as it may be dangerous or be scared into running / flying away before help can arrive, putting it at further risk of harm or worsening its injuries.

Injured animals may be dangerous so do not put yourself or others at risk.

Never try and approach or catch these animals if injured or encountered in the wild:

-Birds of prey (including owls)

-Baboons

-Porcupines

-Caracal cats

-Genet cats

-Mongooses

-Seals

-Snakes

-Geese

-Gulls

-Otters

Call our Inspectorate on 021 700-4158/4159 or after-hours, weekends and public holidays on 083 326-1604 and try and keep eyes on the animal until help arrives, if it is possible to do so.

Take extra care and be aware of your surroundings if you are in a dangerous / unfamiliar  location, especially at night or by a roadside.

Found a beached whale, dolphin, seal or tortoise?

If you find a beached sea creature, keep a safe distance from it (even if it appears to be dead), and do not touch it. Call us immediately on 021 700-4158/4159 or after-hours, weekends and public holidays on 083 326-1604. 

A Hadeda Ibis whose legs were so entangled in string that he was unable to walk.
Animals Caught in Snares

Never try to free an animal that you may find caught in a snare or some form of trap.

There is great risk in causing injury to yourself and further injury to the animal.

Keep far clear of the animal to avoid causing it more stress than it will already be and call us immediately on 021 700-4158/4159 or after-hours, weekends and public holidays on 083 326-1604, with the location of the animal.

Animals That Have Disappeared

We receive numerous calls for assistance daily and need to prioritise emergency cases. If an animal you report has moved away or disappeared from view before help can arrive, it is unlikely that we can help it or it may not even need help.

It is therefore critically important that you try and keep eyes on any animal that you report to us until help arrives. We advise that you check on the animal at 15-minute intervals, without getting too close or unduly disturbing the animal. Keep us updated with any changes in the animal’s circumstance.

Often times a perfectly healthy animal may look “injured” or in distress but is actually displaying its normal behaviour, for example, Cape fur seals who may be asleep on a public beach and will not move away even if disturbed.

Where there is concern for a wild animal that may be easily attacked by domestic dogs (eg a seal on a beach), or injured by people, it is best to alert us immediately and to try and stay with the animal until help arrives, keeping people and other animals away if possible.

Baby and Orphaned Wild Animals

If you encounter a baby wild animal that is alone, keep a watch on it from a distance to make sure it is alone.

Do not attempt to touch it or catch it. It is possible that the parents may be nearby, hiding until it is safe to come out or the animal is near its nest or home.

Try and assess the condition of the animal; does it look particularly thin (underfed) or in distress (calling repetitively)? Call us immediately on 021 700-4158/4159 or after-hours, at weekends and on public holidays on 083 326-1604.

Animals on the Road

Animals on a roadside can be a hazard, both to other road users and to the animal itself.

Most healthy animals will be seen moving or running along a roadside or perhaps trying to cross a road. An animal sitting, lying or standing still beside a road may have already suffered an injury from being hit by a passing car.

When encountering a wild animal alongside or in a road, slow down or stop your vehicle (if it is safe to do so), and try to ascertain if the animal is injured or merely passing by.

Healthy animals on a roadside are the responsibility of the local traffic department / police so reporting the animal to them will be best (they will contact us if they need assistance in moving the animal).

If the animal is clearly injured (ie not moving at all but is still alive), call us immediately on 021 700-4158/4159 or after-hours, weekends and public holidays on 083 326-1604.

If you encounter a dead animal on a roadside, please report it to the local council who are responsible for removing dead animals from public areas.

Contact Us

Call: 021 700-4158/4159 or after-hours, weekends and public holidays on 083 326-1604

E-mail: wildlife1@spca-ct.co.za   

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WILDLIFE FACILITY

Your continued dedication, ongoing support and passion for protecting the lives of wild animals is what makes us successful.

Wildlife News

It seems Buffel has decided to haul out for his annual moult in Hermanus this year!  He has been seen around many …

Amidst the challenging task of battling the late December 2023 wildfires, our dedicated team of inspectors faced an unexpected call that would lead to a heartwarming rescue.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department responded to an adult Cape fur seal with a neck-entanglement, that was not the usual kind they see…

This weekend six abandoned rats have been given a second chance at life after being rescued from a public field where they were left to fend for themselves.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA regrets to inform the public that its high court case seeking an interdict to halt the …

Your ongoing contributions over the next few days are greatly appreciated. This time of year brings extra challenges for the SPCA, with a surge in animal admissions and already stretched resources.

After a complaint, SPCA Inspector Lwazi visited a property and was shocked to find not a dog, but a tortoise tethered without water or shelter.

The Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CoGH SPCA), concerned with the abuse and exploitation of seals at the Hout Bay Harbour, made application to, and obtained a court order from, the Wynberg Magistrates Court for the seizure of the animals earlier this week. Unfortunately, the abuse of these seals has been encouraged by both national and international visitors and locals who financially reward the exploiters by paying for the opportunity to feed, interact or pose with selfies with these animals. The seals have been relocated 900km's away at an undisclosed location where they now live freely without coercion and abuse.

In a ruling by the Khayelitsha Regional Court, four individuals, Luxolo Godana, Nyameko Titi, Nkosinathi Ndzendevu, and Zamani Sibusiso, have been found guilty and sentenced for their cruel act of stoning a Cape fur seal on Monwabisi Beach earlier this year.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has launched an investigation following a distressing incident on 19 September 2023 in which a Seaforth resident shot at a group of baboons, resulting in the death of a juvenile member of the Seaforth Troop also known as the Smitswinkel Bay splinter troop.

From August until the end of summer each year, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA responds to hundreds of phone calls and emails from concerned Capetonians finding young seals (pups) stranded on the shoreline, and not knowing what to do.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA has teamed up with several leading conservation and volunteer organisations to launch a project aimed at providing a coordinated response to snared wildlife incidents, as well as improved training, data collection and awareness about snaring in the Western Cape.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA remains concerned about the welfare aspect of chacma baboons on the Cape peninsula but we are heartened by new collaborative efforts across the various stakeholders and interest groups. We maintain our assertion that welfare is integral to any effective population management programs.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department went to the rescue of a young blue crane stuck in a farmer’s fence…

The cold, wet and windy weather has taken it's toll on animals in many ways. From wildlife displaced by the rising water levels, to farm animals in flooded pens and many pets being left exposed to the elements, the Cape of Good Hope Inspectors have been kept busy - and it's not over, weather predictions indicate more bad weather is on the horizon.

Six Cape Fur seals have been stabbed at sea, and washed ashore at Kommetjie’s Long Beach, most likely due to drowning as a result of the trauma from their wounds. This incident is a terrible reminder of humans’ impact on coastal wildlife as the globe celebrates World Oceans Day today.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA reminds dog walkers, hikers, cyclists and all those venturing out into their favourite wild spaces this weekend that there remains a critical national shortage of snake antivenom due to under-supply (and over-demand) and that all precautions should be observed until the situation is resolved.

Rats are highly intelligent and social animals that make great pets. Despite the negative stereotypes and misconceptions that some people may have about them, rats are actually friendly, affectionate, and highly trainable. If you're looking for a small, furry companion that's full of personality and loves to interact with their human companions, then a rat might be the perfect pet for you.

Jon's love for wildlife began at a young age and inspired him to pursue a career in conservation. A published author, Jon has written numerous articles for the SPCA and has been involved in various aspects of wild animal care throughout his career.

The SPCA was forced to euthanise another alpha male baboon from a Simon’s Town troop yesterday, the second in a short span of a week. No sooner had the 150-year old animal welfare organisation broken the sad news of having to euthanise a well-known adult male baboon of the Smitswinkel Troop known as Van Damme (WF8) due to serious welfare concerns last week, than an adult male baboon from the neighbouring Waterfall Troop, known as Nomahlehle (WF8) was admitted to the SPCA having been blinded in both eyes by what is suspected to have been a pepper round fired at his face at close range. 

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA deeply regrets to announce the euthanisation of the male baboon WF8, better known to locals and his fans as Van Damme. We are deeply saddened by Van Damme's passing.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department were again thrilled to be able to release a caracal cat back into the wild.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department has been receiving a lot of phone calls and emails from people contacting us about dassies in their Daewoo’s, hyraxes in their Hi-Luxes and otherwise big brown rodents in their Range Rovers. Why are dassies so keen on hitching-rides in our cars all of a sudden?

Baboons and Us

Humans and baboons are closely related – it’s true. Scientists say that we are 94% the same! So while we may be “similar” to our baboon cousins, we still don’t understand nor do we treat them very well. Here’s some advice from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department on what TO DO and what NOT to do when you are around baboons!

A rescued Cape fur seal returns home after a short stay at the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA recently returned 174 indigenous tortoises back to the wild where they belong, saved from a lifetime of being unsuitable pets.

Four suspects have been taken into custody following a brutal stoning of an adult Cape fur seal yesterday evening on Monwabisi Beach, Khayelitsha.

A tired Cape Fur Seal came out to the shore to rest but was constantly being harassed by beachgoers on Bloubergstrand. The seal was tired and slightly underweight.

It seems not even Cape Town’s wildlife is immune to the Christmas spirit! At a time of year when the shops are packed and companies are vying for our attention with all kinds of gimmicks in order to sell the latest fad, we are quite used to seeing strange things at the malls, but when the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Wildlife Department received a call about a Cape fur seal crossing the busy Jakes Gerwel Drive opposite the Vangate Mall in Athlone this morning, even we had to wonder...

It is a sad day for our beleaguered baboon troops in the south as we mourn the passing of Slangkop’s alpha male George Jr. (a.k.a “SK10”)

As “seal season” sets in, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA answers numerous calls a day about seals hauling themselves out on beaches along our coastline in weakened and malnourished states and while certainly many of the seals you are likely to see on our beaches at this time of year are a little thin, that isn’t their only condition –plastic pollution remains an ever-present danger.

Free As A Bird

There are few symbols of freedom more compelling than the image of a bird of prey, wings outstretched carving a lazy circle in the sky above…

If you live in Cape Town, one hot topic of conversation around the dinner table right now is…otters. Are they just cute ‘n cuddly creatures looking for love in all the wrong places, and why should we really be concerned about our behaviour around them?

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA and the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement: Animal Control Unit have removed two husky dogs from a residential property in Simon’s Town following the killing of approximately 19 African penguins by the off-leash dogs over the weekend.

The shooting and subsequent death of a chacma baboon in Bel Ombre in late September has led the Cape of Good Hope SPCA to open a criminal case against the perpetrator.

Seal Unhooked

One of the greatest threats facing marine wildlife is discarded fishing gear.

Here are a few things you should know about seals before you approach them.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is spreading its message of urgent species conservation across the generations

When it comes to life-threatening predicaments, getting covered in oil is any bird’s worst nightmare…

It’s time we gave the Cape porcupine a little more respect, and not just because they are the second biggest rodents in the world, but because they are true ecosystem architects and play a vital role in keeping nature functional.

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