By Katie O’Halloran
Today, along with a few others, I went to C.A.R.E, Centre for Animal Rehabilitation and Education. C.A.R.E was founded in 1989 by Rita Miljo, a woman who today, I discovered to be a fascinating and extremely passionate person, and whose unmistakable love and respect for animals, particularly baboons, moved myself and the others who have been blessed enough to be in the presence of her and her ‘little people’.
On arriving at the sanctuary, we were picked up by Rita to be taken to the centre. Although a very bumpy journey, it was a great start to the trip as we were lucky enough to see some baboons and Kudu mingling on the land nearby and on the return journey to the truck we spotted a lone giraffe which, being my first encounter with one of these magnificent creatures, was an amazing moment.
Once Rita had dropped us at C.A.R.E, we were given a tour by one of the long term volunteers, Steve, who gave us an insight into the daily hustle and bustle of life at the sanctuary. With the centre being situated on a beautiful and remote spot on the banks of the Olifants River, near to Phalaborwa in the Northern Province of South Africa, and along with the fact that I was surrounded by not only a vast amount of baboons, but also warthogs that had ventured over from the nearby game reserve, and a wonderfully sweet meer cat that had been rescued. I found this to be a wonderfully inspirational and serene place that I would seriously consider visiting or volunteering for in the not too distant future.
As a member of the Handshake team, I think I can speak for most of us, especially those of us who have been lucky enough to meet Rita and visit her centre, that it has been a highlight of our trip so far and has inspired and motivated us even further to continue in our quest to help conserve primates.