Provide food and care for our leopard for one year

by DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage
Piggy and Eeyore!
Piggy and Eeyore!

Dear All, 

As you may know, our leopard Shiloweni sadly passed away earlier this year. Although it was a tragic event at the camp, life moves on at DAKTARI. We have decided to close this fundraising project in his name, yet in his honor we would like to begin a new project to keep the camp running and continue to provide a healthy environment and diet for all animals that are with us now. The latest addition to our ever growing family is a baby mongoose called Lady Pilou and of course Piggy the warthog, who grows bigger and stronger every day!  

We have just began an exciting new campaign to follow our duty to care and protect our animals, and we would like to invite you to continue your unmeasurable support to our cause. As you are aware, DAKTARI serves to both look after the animals but also to educate the children who visit us to appreciate and care for their natural heritage. It is with this goal in mind that we open this new campaign to provide food & care for ALL our animals for a year.

We thank you again for your continued kindness and support. 

Best Wishes, 


PS: We just opened a Pinterest Page! 

Lady Pilou getting big!
Lady Pilou getting big!


It started off like any other Monday at DAKTARI, the children going around on a tour, animals being fed and cleaned, optimism in the air for the new adventures of the week that lay ahead. However, what was discovered  on the 19th of January, at around 13:00, would rock DAKTARI to its core.

" We would often go visit Shiloweni to see what he was doing, often we would find him patrolling his territory or more recently, up in his tree, taking cover from the heat. Today we were surprised to find him lying in the sun. He would normally have his tail moving or at least move his ears if we approached closer. This time, nothing. We immediately knew that something was wrong " said the two DAKTARI volunteers, Daniel and Anne-Sophie, that found Shiloweni's stiff and lifeless body laying in the grass.

Our leopard was then taken to local veterinary doctor, Peter Rodgers, who has played such an important role in the leopards’ life. He confirmed what we had already suspected, it was a snake bite that had taken the life of this majestic African beast. Even the might and power of this exquisite creature was no match for the deadly venom of a slithering serpent. There was evidence of a fight around his body, with blood and scratch marks present, probably with either a Snouted Cobra or the infamous Black Mamba. Dr. Rodgers then notified us that there has been many snake bite incidents reported in the last weeks. This one, we felt the most.

After the dust had settled, it was time to lay Shiloweni to rest. His grave was dug in the African Bush, which is where he belongs. It was an honour and privilege to be there as Ian, Michele, staff, volunteers and children payed their respects to this fallen giant. It was if a close friend had passed, and that's really what Shiloweni was, someone close to our hearts, a respected member of the family whose presence and majesty was not possible to ignore. He had played such a vital role in inspiring and motivating children and volunteers alike, to stop, and to take notice of the utter preciousness that surrounds all of us. To acknowledge how fragile life can be. Stop, breath, and contemplate this for a moment.

But with every end comes new beginnings, with every heart ache comes hope. Without a doubt, from the rubble of our broken hearts, something fresh and new will emerge from this tragic story.

Shiloweni encapsulated the spirit of what DAKTARI is about, his spirit will live on forever. This evening as the red sunsets, no matter where you find yourself in the world, you can still hear his mighty roar in your hearts.

To all you donors who have given selflessly of yourselves and resources to provide the food and care for Shiloweni, we salute you. This is the end of the story of this leopard, but the Bush School & Wildlife he called home for so many years continues. We ask that you continue to support DAKTARI for it purpose of saving animals like Shiloweni.


Ian and Michele Merrifield
Ian and Michele Merrifield

Dear GlobalGiving Donors,

Some of you know us personally but others have not had the opportunity to meet us yet.

We, Ian and I (Michele), are the co-founders on site of DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage.

Yesterday, 31st of December, I went again through the list of our donors to check that we did not forget to thank anyone.

The list was long and I realised how many people you are, helping and trusting us. Being touched about it, I had to take time and think about each of you all!

I want you to understand that behind the description of the project on GlobalGiving, there are also two people with passion for the environment and love for our community. We, and our team, are the ones doing the work and making the impact on your behalf. We deeply thank you for choosing DAKTARI as a beneficiary.

Your donation (s) have been very important to us in 2014 and this is why I finished the year thinking about each and every one of you.

When I woke up this morning, believe it or not, I was thinking of you again. Although I wanted to stay in bed, I needed to share my feelings with you and write my gratitude. It is important to explain in simple words how meaningful you are to us. Basically, you kicked me out of bed!!!!

Thank you for being who you are. Your generous support makes it possible for our organisation to exist and to make the community a great place to live.

Remember that to us your donation is much more than a click, and we are looking forward to your support in 2015.

All the best to you, very dear donors.

Thank you.

Dear Donors,

Another great year is coming to an end and all the animals and everyone at DAKTARI wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2015!!

No words can describe how grateful we are for your help and support. We could not run this Bush School & Wildlife Orphange without you! All these fabulous moments, bush adventures, joy, animals rescued and released, new babies, children's stories, laughs, teaching program... This is thanks to your participation towards a better world. 

THANK YOU for being here, involved with DAKTARI and we hope to continue hearing from you Next Year :)


Children, Animals, Volunteers, Staff, Ian and Michele.


Baby Timon and baby Pumbaa
Baby Timon and baby Pumbaa

Dear Donors,

How are you doing since the last report? Here at DAKTARI, days are full of joy and we go from one surprise to another! The end of the year is around the corner, so let’s finish 2014 off with a bang! :)

For Christmas, join DAKTARI in offering the animals a special festive season! They have been soooo good this year, with many families being raised, so trust me, they really diserve it!

Ohhh, you didn’t know about the new babies? Well, they are SO adorable!

  • We were given a little warthog in November, that was only 2 weeks old. Her mom had been killed and so she left behind her baby that DAKTARI rescued. It has taken a lot of care, attention and food for this piglet to not only grow, but to thrive. We had to take her to the vet because she was very fragile and, after some special baby milk, Piggy now starts to gobble everything in her way!
  • Our marmosets have had 2 new babies! We have 5 Marmosets now! Princess Leila, King Kong, Moogli and the 2 babies. What a happy and beautiful family!
  • Remember that I told you about the arrival of Madonna, a female meerkat. Since that day, Gaspar and Tikki, our two other male meerkats, have had some “fun” with her. Result: 3 addorable babies meerkats ever!!! Look at the picture, you can only love them!

DAKTARI’s animal familly is getting bigger and we are so proud of that. But it also means more fees to provide healthy food and good care for them. 2014 has been such a great year and we are proud of all the rescues, releases, new babies, which all happened thanks to your on-going support! We are so grateful for that.

DAKTARI relies on your generosity during Christmas, so we can continue spoiling all these orphaned animals for 2015! Please donate to our project, share the link on your social media or via email, speak about it to your friends and encourage them to join our cause.

For a memorable Christmas, you can also make a donation on behalf of someone special, and DAKTARI will send you a virtual gift recipient via email to give to them. Don’t miss this great last-minute gift idea and hit the following link: ! :)

A warm and huge THANK YOU,

DAKTARI wishes you a wonderful Christmas and a joyous New Year.

2 adorable baby meerkats
2 adorable baby meerkats



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Organization Information

DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

Location: Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province - South Africa
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Michele Merrifield
Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province South Africa

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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