Helping species whose existence hangs in the balance!

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© Scales Conservation Fund 2019

REWILD REHABILITATION CENTRE

ReWild is a rehabilitation centre based in Phalaborwa, Limpopo Province. Founded and run by Jane and Faunce Burd. Hand rearing orphaned wildlife preparing them for release and treating injured, sick or poisoned wildlife and returning them as fit healthy animals back into the wild.

 

With over 10 years’ experience rehabilitating wildlife, ReWild is one of the few Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres in South Africa that specialises in the care and treatment of bats. Whilst they care for all wildlife species in need, ReWild has special facilities that cater for the unique requirements of bat rehabilitation. Jane is widely regarded as one of the top bat rehabbers in South Africa and so Rewild is the go-to centre for all orphaned, injured and sick bats in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga area. The centre has been known to house and treat up to 150 bats during the busy breeding season, but on average they care for 350 bats and other wildlife a year.

They don’t just stop there! ReWild has extended into education, helping farmers to utilise bats for the control of crop pests, and other bat conservation measures such as human/bat conflict resolution by means of humane roof exclusions as well as. Every year hundreds, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of bats are being killed by lodges, town and rural homeowners and on government owned properties in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo regions of South Africa.

 

The most common “problem” is roof roosting. The Free-tailed bats roost in large numbers in roofs. They are noisy and some have a pungent odour. Uneducated, people remove them any way they can. They poison them, place buckets of water outside their exit holes and drown them, seal them into roofs to starve and pay pest control companies to remove them. These companies do not use humane methods either and kill thousands of bats. The Free-tailed pups do not fly with their mothers and so they are poisoned or buried alive in foam filler or just sealed up in roofs and left to starve to death. It’s completely unnecessary, bats can be humanely excluded from roofs, these inhumane and illegal methods needn’t be used at all. In addition, some local cultures are superstitious about bats, some regard bats as witches, and will even destroy natural bat roosts, very often with the bats in them. The biggest threat to these bats is humans, we are the problem but we’re also the solution.

 

Bats are an integral part of our eco-system. Without them, insect numbers would skyrocket. Not only leading to an increase to irritating buzzing sounds, but also having a huge impact on crop production. As crop pests become more and more resistant to pesticides farmers find themselves needing to use more and more pesticides to protect their crops. This not good for the farmers pocket, nor our health. Bats consume many of the crop pests and can help farmers break their dependence on pesticides and enable more organic farming. We’ve been advising and assisting farmers with attracting bats to their properties using strategically placed bat houses. Bats in bat houses on farms controlling crop pests has multiple benefits; crop protection, environmentally friendly farming methods, reduced farming costs and provides safe protected roosts for bats.

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