Animal Rescue Centre

Wildlife Conservation

ARC (Aquila’s Animal Rescue and Conservation Centre) is a non-profit section 21 organisation (#2004/011009/08), established as a sanctuary for animals that can never be released into the wild again. AS one of the Western Cape’s leading wildlife conservation programmes, ARC also serves as a temporary home for endangered or injured wildlife in need of attention and medical care before being released into the wild. 

How You Can Help

Aquila’s animal rescue centre and wildlife rehabilitation initiatives rely on generous donations from the public. Make a donation of your choice and help further our efforts to protect and rehabilitate South Africa’s wildlife heritage.

ARC Robben Island

On the 29 April 2008 Searl Derman, the owner of Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa, came across a newspaper article headlining how the fallow deer and rabbits were starving on Robben Island. Searl Derman immediately contacted the appropriate authorities asking how he could assist them. He then set out to meet with Robben Island, and the other involved parties in order to find a solution to the problem at hand.

Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation

Over the years, Aquila has fortunate enough to be able to rescue and release animals from the Centre. Our conservation team have released 3 mountain leopards, numerous lynx, porcupines, owls, and various other species. ARC is also home to a newly created Education centre, which houses information on our Eco Synergy systems and Saving Private Rhino.

Saving Private Rhino

The “Saving Private Rhino” initiative has been established to ensure the future conservation of Africa’s rhino and wildlife heritage, by providing the most comprehensive, integrated anti-poaching solution available to every private game reserve in Africa that needs assistance defending its wildlife. Saving Private Rhino’s award-winning conservation efforts encompass providing free anti-poaching training courses, free rapid rhino response, and free reconstructive veterinary surgery to game reserves throughout South Africa. 

Orphaned Rhino Calf

The rhino orphanage is strategically situated where the anti-poaching courses are conducted, creating a powerful deterrent to potential poachers. This location also guarantees access to highly skilled ex-military and police personnel, firearms, anti-poaching instructors, as well as K9 anti-poaching dog handling instructors overseeing our K9 breeding centre. Once the orphaned rhinos are capable of feeding and fending for themselves (or have recovered from their injuries), they will be returned to their original owners or released to spacious, free-roaming, and adequately protected game reserves.

Black Eagle Project

Cape Town’s Big 5 safari, Aquila Private Game Reserve, is named after the rarely-sighted Black or Verreaux’s Eagle (aquila verreauxii). This majestic raptor is regularly seen on the reserve by eagle-eyed rangers and guests. As part of the leopard monitoring programme, Aquila staff place cameras at the site of recent kills made by several of the elusive and endangered nocturnal Cape Mountain Leopards that hunt on the Reserve. Sightings of Black eagles (which are large birds of prey) are occasional recorded via these remote camera locations.

Eco Synergy Systems

The Eco-Synergy Project is a specialised division of the Aquila Rehabilitation & Conservation Centre (ARC), focused on reducing Aquila’s carbon footprint through various eco-friendly initiatives. This comprehensive programme encompasses a range of interconnected eco-synergy systems, including a waste management plan that incorporates worm farms and biogas plants. These efforts have led to the development of community vegetable and herb gardens, and the implementation of an aquaponics system.

Saving Private Rhino team member comforting an orphaned baby rhino at Aquila's Rhino Orphanage and Rhino Conservation Project.

Rhino Conservation & Facilities

Our dedicated team is committed to rehabilitating and releasing rhinos that have endured severe facial and respiratory injuries due to poaching incidents. Dr. Johan Marais serves as our Patron and National Head Vet and Wildlife Surgeon. In 2012, he founded the “Saving the Survivors” initiative to care for injured and endangered wildlife, with a focus on rhinos and elephants. Dr. Johan is internationally renowned for his innovative procedures and pioneering surgeries on critically injured rhinos. Dr. Marais is supported by Dr. Doempjes Trichardt from Tulbagh Veterinary Services. 

Orphaned Rhino Rehabilitation

Aquila’s rescue centre (ARC) has the infrastructure and expertise to care for orphaned rhinos in a safe and secure environment, giving these vulnerable creatures the best possible chance at survival. The Saving Private Rhino Orphanage and Rehabilitation Centre is not open to the public. This ensures the successful rehabilitation and best security for the rhinos.

Orphaned Rhino being comforted by a game ranger at Aquila's Animal Rescue Centre (ARC), as part of the wildlife conservation initiatives.

Aquila's Rhino Conservation Milestones