Hand-raising animals takes care, commitment – and a lot of love


The moment an injured animal shows up on Brian Maphanga’s door, he instinctively knows what to do. A wildlife rehabilitator, Maphanga takes each one into his arms, feeds them, and nurses them back to health. From fledglings to baby antelope, Maphanga’s mission to save individual creatures has far greater consequences. By rescuing just one animal, we could preserve life as we know it.

Maphanga’s empathy was inspired by his dad, who left a legacy of care and compassion behind him. Following in his father’s footsteps, Maphanga began working at FreeMe KZN Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. He steps in when there is no one else to help young animals, often abandoned by their mothers. With love and nurturing, Maphanga raises the creatures and gets them back on their feet. Like any parent, he has to eventually let his children go. Maphanga is determined to ensure that they return to the wild. But their natural habitat is at risk as a result of human activity. We are all part of the same environment, and our wellbeing as humans relies on the safety of animals.

“People must take part in looking after animals that we live with in our community,” he says. To spread this message, Maphanga presents educational talks and shows others how they can protect our fellow creatures. For nine years, Maphanga has dedicated himself to saving the small and defenceless. “All the people living in this country can benefit if they show love to these animals,” he says. Maphanga’s commitment has contributed to creating a South Africa where humans and wildlife can live in harmony.