Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.

"Let us remember that animals are not mere resources for human consumption. They are splendid beings in their own right, who have evolved alongside us as co-inheritors of all the beauty and abundance of life on this planet" ― Marc Bekoff




I recently visited the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, a dedicated wildlife ONLY veterinary hospital situated in Northern Johannesburg. Their aim is to improve the quality of treatment, survival rate and success rate of rehabilitation of small to medium-sized indigenous South-African wildlife.

FYI: In order to keep them safe, the pangolin treated at this hospital are not kept on the premises but are housed at an off-site secure lockdown facility where both their health and safety can be monitored 24/7.




I was uncertain of what to expect during my visit to the hospital, but I certainly did not expect THIS. There are patients on every surface, all under covers so as not to stress them. I suppose in a way, I was expecting more of a zoo atmosphere but what I did encounter could not have been further from that concept.




The got this information about these staff members from their website:

Dr Karin Lourens (R)
Dr K qualified in 2002 and practised as a small animal veterinary surgeon. Her interest in wildlife started in 2012 when she became a volunteer at the FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Johannesburg. Together with a wildlife rehabilitation specialist, Nicci Wright, she created the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.  Dr K has also completed an MSc degree (Cum Laude) which focused on the normal serum chemistry and haematology levels in the Temminck’s ground pangolin.

Nicci Wright (L)
Nicci Wright is an independent wildlife rehabilitation specialist with over 20 years of practical experience. Nicci Wright is a founder/director of the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital NPC which specialises in the treatment and rehabilitation of indigenous wildlife. She has worked with more than 350 different species of indigenous birds, mammals and reptiles and her expertise lie in a range of rehabilitation areas such as diagnosing, treatments and care, wildlife behaviour and release techniques.




The old adage is not a ‘bat in the hand’…but these week-old bats are doing just that. In order to feed them Dr K has improvised and adapted a tiny absorbant make-up stick that they can cling to and suckle from.




This is what happens when you have a tortoise wandering in your garden and you reverse over it. Tortoises are protected and may not be kept without the relevant permits. But try telling that to the people who buy these reptiles off the side of the road, or worse still find them in the bush and bring them home to be kept captive. The facility is home to dozens of tortoises, and it is a struggle to find suitable secure reserves or farms for them to be placed on.




This is not a zoo and the animals brought here have to be able to be released and fend for themselves. To this end, there is very little contact between the staff and the patients.




If there is one creature that they have in abundance, it is tortoises. And for a variety of reasons…This particular individual had quite a temper and hurtled across the lawns to get to us. And I do mean hurtled, as tortoises can actually move faster than expected.




This lone Dassie (Rock Hyrax) was most inquisitive and was prepared to interact with my camera and me.




A punishing schedule! These birds need to be fed every 30 minutes.




Forget a “need for speed”, here is it a  “need for a feed”.This baby Mousebird, like all the other animals at the clinic, need to be fed constantly.




A large female Temminck’s Ground Pangolin is being treated by the vets at this facility.

FYI: In order to keep them safe, they are not kept on the premises but are kept at an off-site secure lockdown facility where both their health and safety can be monitored

This little female Temminck’s Ground Pangolin was barely 2 months old when I visited and she required hand feeding on a regular basis. Having waited 53 years to actually get to see a pangolin in the wild, sharing time with them at the secure facility was overwhelming and an emotional experience for me. My thank to all the staff who make my visit so special.


Contact details:

Mobile :+27 71 248 1514 (24 hours)



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