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Sarah Colin-Stokes

Sarah Colin-Stokes

Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary ›
Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage ›

Country:
United Kingdom

Length of Project:
86 days
Project Year:
2017

I am a qualified veterinary nurse who decided to go to Africa to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference. I worked at Care for Wild for 2 months and Chipangali for 1 month.

At Care for Wild I was based on the ICU quarantine team, where I worked with Khanya & Rose, two white rhino aged 7 & 5 months. I cared for them with daily feeding and cleaning. During my stay, Rubybelle arrived aged 1 month. She was tiny and it was at this point, it all hit home. Poaching in South Africa is a massive problem. You don’t realise how much, until you see what’s left behind. The work the staff do is utterly amazing. The determination they have to give injured, sick and orphaned rhino a second chance is outstanding and the whole team works tirelessly night and day. I was lucky enough to be able to care for Rubybelle for 2 and a half weeks, which was an incredible time and I could have stayed forever. Seeing her adjust, recover and bounce back – she is truly unforgettable.

Care for Wild is not for the faint hearted! If you are going to cuddle rhinos, you’re going to the wrong place! It’s tough work with long days but one of the most amazing things you will ever get the chance to do. Yes it’s expensive, but it’s worth every penny. The more you put in the more you get out. A lot of the day consists of clearing up after the rhino’s and although this is hard work it can be made fun. If it doesn’t challenge you, it wont change you. No matter how hard stuff gets, you cannot give up and it may just change your life.

Whilst I was at CFWA , I also had the opportunity to hand rear 2 duiker lambs who had just arrived. Richie was around 2-3 weeks old and Flick 1-2 days old. Although this was exhausting, including multiple night feeds, to have them both survive after I had looked after them was extremely rewarding. I got to watch them grow and see their little characters develop.

Whilst you are there it is important to remember to take a moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there. Other highlights included tucking Khanya & Rose in at bed time and watching the sun go down, giving Khanya & Rose their first mud bath, assisting with the dehorning program, and of course spending time with Rucybelle, taking her out into the boma and watching her run.

Chipangali

I stayed at the Chipanagli centre for a month. You’ll be hard pushed to find a more welcoming family than the Wilsons and their dedication to the animals is amazing. My highlights there included looking after an owl who had a smashed beak after being hit by a car, and getting out into the countryside seeing Victoria Falls & flying in a helicopter!

I am a qualified veterinary nurse who decided to go to Africa to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference. I worked at Care for Wild for 2 months and Chipangali for 1 month. Whilst you are there it is important to remember to take a moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there.

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