Orphans at Riverside Urgently Need Your Help

There are about 350 orphans, a tiny handful of long-term volunteers and some permanent staff living at Riverside, trying to survive without any income – during this global COVID-19 pandemic.  And they urgently need your help to buy food / pay for supplies, welfare needs etc at this time.

 For close on 30 years hundreds of primate orphans have passed through Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in the Limpopo Province of South Africa: mostly Chacma baboon and Vervet monkey babies, largely orphaned as a result of their mothers being killed by humans. Primates share approximately 96% of their DNA with humans.  They are our closest cousins in the natural world but they are also endangered.

 In the wild, these primates live in large groups, known as troops:  it takes several years to create new troops from orphaned animals, but world leading primatologists, Bob and Lynne Venter, founders of RWRC have already successfully rehabilitated / released 19 troops of Vervet monkeys and 2 troops of baboons.  The 3rd baboon release scheduled for 2020 (of 40 plus baboons) has been temporarily put on hold due to COVID-19 and global lock-down.

In early 2020 I had the privilege to work as a volunteer at Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre for 2 months, caring for some of these primate orphans: bottle feeding and playing with the youngest babies, preparing food for the “toddlers & teenagers”, taking them for walks, cleaning enclosures and much more besides.  Even at the age of 62 (!), I formed close bonds within the international group of wonderful and like-minded volunteers and some very special animals.  Gatsby, at 3 months old, chose me to be his surrogate "mom" and I have adopted him.

Riverside Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is a “non-profit organisation” and receives no government funding. Income is derived from volunteer contributions and donations. The current COVID-19 pandemic and global lock-down has cut off the income stream for now:  international travel ban = no volunteers = no income and this looks set to continue for several months.  Daily running costs are approximately £200 which is why I am trying to raise £15,000 through this fundraising page. 

Please help me to reach this target by donating and sharing posts as widely as possible with your family, friends and colleagues etc via social media platforms.  With your help, these animals will get through this pandemic and eventually be returned to the wild, where they belong.

Thank you for your support.

Meanwhile I hope that you and yours stay safe and well during these very difficult times.

Donations ()

  • Stephen Ferguson 
    • £20 
    • 2 hrs
  • Helen Gillert 
    • £10 
    • 3 hrs
  • Jane Buckley 
    • £30 
    • 12 hrs
  • Joe Dorey 
    • £10 
    • 3 d
  • Hugh Dorey 
    • £40 
    • 5 d
See all


Helen Frances Elliott 
Catton, North East England, United Kingdom
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