Written by Laurus Media
Photographs supplied by Critter Rescue SA
Bunnies and hamsters and hedgehogs, oh my! These and many other little critters are so often overlooked in rescue but need so much help. That’s where Critter Rescue SA comes in.
A new start
In April 2017, Karien van Wyk did a home check on behalf of Lauren Namer, the founder of the Little Critter Rescue Club. Lauren advised Karien that she’d be closing down the organisation as she’d no longer be able to continue doing rescue work due to ill health.
At the time, Karien was involved with the Benoni Bunny Park Rescue volunteer group, as well as private dog and cat rescue. After mulling it over for a few days, she decided to speak to Lauren and volunteer to take over the organisation.
Lauren agreed and was happy about this decision and, between them, Karien and Lauren decided that the name would be changed to Critter Rescue SA (CRSA).
CRSA was officially registered as a non-profit organisation during September 2018 and received its NPO status during October 2018. They’ve since applied for our PBO in order to be able to issue section 18A certificates.
Karien met fellow animal lover Michelle Griessel two years later, and the two of them realised that they had a mutual passion for critters (small creatures). When it comes to animals, both will always go the extra mile to protect their rights and welfare and aren’t scared to expose individuals who don’t share their view.
CRSA rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes various little critters and sometimes even cats, dogs or birds. They have various critters that are permanent residents at CRSA due to health issues or old age, to whom they give extra attention and love.
Over the last three years, CRSA has grown to become one of the most recognised small exotic and rodent rescue organisations in South Africa. They mostly rehome animals in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the Free State. Critter Rescue SA is based in Gauteng and all adoptions can be done on their website (details below).
They started out with six bunnies and two guinea pigs. Today, they have the following animals in their care:
- 2 tenrecs
- 37 African pygmy hedgehogs
- 18 hamsters
- 106 rats
- 34 chinchillas
- 42 guinea pigs
- 255 bunnies
And there are always more in need of help...
With help from the team from Laurus Media, CRSA launched their beautiful new website in August 2021. Supporters can now view most of the animals in their care as well as do virtual adoptions, read about their trap and sterilisation projects (which their amazing vet, Dr Jackie Sharp from Sunninghill Village Vet, assists them with) and purchase products for themselves and their critters from their online shop, which raises funds for their work.
Aside from helping the littlest animals, they also have a project where they cook Christmas lunches for various shelters and SPCAs over December. In 2021, they fed just over 3,000 hungry dogs, and this year they aim to feed around 4,000. They have a lot of volunteers who assist them with the cooking and feeding and are delighted to have had an amazing response from the public over the last three years in contributing towards the food for this project. Information on this project can be found on their website or Facebook page.
They try and focus on stray, sick or injured animals, but with the pet shops not educating people and giving people the correct information on the proper care of exotic animals and rodents, they found that most of our surrenders are from accidental litters. They also assist with breeder confiscations/surrenders, and most of these animals will end up on our virtual adoption page due to health issues.
The CRSA team would like to thank all our supporters as they’d be nothing without them.
You can help!
As with most rescue organisations, Critter Rescue SA relies on donations to help them sterilise and care for the animals in their care. They also always need food, cages and carriers, drinking water bottles, and blankets (for drop-off in Sunninghill, Hyde Park, and Centurion).
Any donations can be made into the following bank account:
Critter Rescue SA
First National Bank
Account number: 62781751716
Branch code: 250-655
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ
If you’d love to adopt a little critter but can’t do so, why not virtually adopt one via the website?
Toffee: a success story – written by Karien van Wyk, Director of Critter Rescue SA
Toffee was dropped off at Valley Farm Animal Hospital at the beginning of 2022. They contacted us for help and we collected him. We’d first thought that he was a brown bunny, hence the name Toffee.
We were horrified to discover that he was actually covered in a sticky glue-like substance which irritated his skin so much that he started pulling out his own fur. Moreover, his ears were full of mites and he’d developed a blockage, most likely from all the fur he’d been pulling off.
After weeks of washing, cutting and grooming Toffee, we discovered that he’s actually a snow-white bunny. Toffee is doing really well and has picked up a lot of weight. He’s a completely different bunny today.