Hello and Welcome!
Thanks to several amazing stories on the Dodo and through GlobalGiving there are a lot of new people receiving this report. If you are one of them, welcome and thank you for your support!
There are many different types of wildlife sanctuaries out there, especially in South Africa. There are game reserves and farms where the animals roam free, rehabilitation centers that help injured animals, breeding programs to bolster the populations of endangered species, and more.
DAKTARI's wildlife orphange is a bit of hybrid. We have a camp with animal enclosures and a farm surrounding us where animals roam free. We have some injured animals but don't consider ourself a rehabilitation center. We are not a breeding program, though we often care for abandoned baby animals.
The animals in our enclosures are often there because they would not survive if released. Our eagles and owls cannot fly; our wild dog, Dongo, has maimed legs from being hit by a car; and Martin, our cheetah, was raised in captivity and is too old to thrive in the wild. These animals live in comfort at DAKTARI and serve as ambassadors for the local children that visit our camp. Other animals are only here temporarily, like our mongooses, who will be released once they have established the family unit necessary to survive.
There are also animals in the farm that visit the DAKTARI camp every day. A collection of antelope species that were hand-raised by DAKTARI's staff keep coming back to say hello and get a snack. Maxi, a bushbuck, has been thriving for the past 8 years on the farm. She comes back every day to serve as an ambassador for the kids. Her many children also stop by for a visit from time to time.
One of our favorite animal ambassadors is Yster. Yster is a porcupine that was rescued by DAKTARI as a baby. She was abandoned by her mother and bottle-fed at the DAKTARI camp. She was immediately affectionate and would cuddle up with volunteers and even the children! Once she was strong enough, she was released onto our farm. Much to everyone's surprise, that evening, Yster showed up right around dinner time! She continued to come back for a carrot and some love every night. Today, Yster is a fantastic animal ambassador. She will arrive right around dinner time and every Monday, the first night we have new children at the camp, we introduce them to Yster. She shows the children that wild animals, like Yster, should not be killed out of fear or uncertainty. As they watch her munch on a carrot, they learn to respect her and as they give her a belly rub, they learn to admire her.
All of our animals have a special place in our hearts. They have unique, and sometimes quirky, personalities. Most importantly, all of them teach the children who visit us the importance of protecting the wildlife and the environment. Every week, the children leave with an appreciation for animals and a passion to keep them safe.
To all of our furry (and not so furry!) residents, we say thank you and we love you!
To all of their supporters like you, we hope you get to come and see our family here at DAKTARI and meet our ambassadors in person. They, and we, thank you for the support that allows us to do what we love every day.
Until next time,
A humbled and grateful DAKTARI Team
Fundraising for a large project is tough. To succeed, we need to keep the funds we raise until we have raised ALL of it. As a result, there is no progress to report on. We are working to continue raising funds for our solar panel system and holding on to your donation until we’ve successfully gotten everything.
We have decided to shrink the project a bit and raise funds to buy individual batteries first – just $6,600 instead of $30,000. The lithium iron phosphate batteries we’re looking to purchase will last longer, take us less space, and be more efficient than the lead crystal batteries we are using now. Once we have the batteries, we can start looking into solar panel upgrades and other enhancements to the system so DAKTARI can have clean, reliable energy.
Our hope is that, with the smaller budget, we will be able to raise the funds more quickly and progress will be right around the corner! The main fundraising push for our solar panels will be happening in September and October. Between September 5th and October 10th, GlobalGiving UK is hosting a 50% matching campaign for renewable energy projects and we’re in! Stay tuned for more details in our next report.
Thank you so much for your support and we look forward to reaching our goals together!
The DAKTARI Team
The staff, volunteers, and children are truly grateful for all of the support we received during the June 15th Bonus Day. All together, DAKTARI received more than $20,000 in donations which can will provide the children with a rich educational experience at our camp, not to mention their favorite food - pap! With your donations, we should be able to provide them with pap for a long, long time :) THANK YOU!!
June is actually a month of exams and school holidays for our children. During exams, we host career guidance classes for the youth in the area. Young adults who have already completed school can come to DAKTARI for a week of lessons designed to help them gain employment, including CV writing, interview skills, and presentation practice. By the end of the week, they have everything they need for the job hunt!
Right now, there are school holidays until the middle of July but we do still have children. Even during their break, kids are eager to come to DAKTARI!
One of those eager students, Chantel, was excited to tell us what she liked about being at DAKTARI. You can watch her mini-interview below and learn what her favorite animal is at DAKTARI...
July and August are a busy time at DAKTARI, with a lot of volunteers and a lot of projects so we'll have plenty to share in our next update! However, we are still looking for volunteers in September, October, and November. Check out our volunteering page to learn more and sign up to join us at DAKTARI for an amazing experience in the African Bush!
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Until next time!