HESC to the rescue


The recovering Bateleur eagle

We’ve recently had a number of opportunities to do what we do best here at Hoedspruite Endangered Species Centre (HESC), which is to give animals (and birds!) a safe place to rest and recuperate after they’ve been injured or traumatised.


Towards the end of August Camp Jabulani sent us a Bateleur eagle that had flown into an electric fence. Its left wing was severely burned, so our curator, Christo, immediately took the injured bird to Dr Rogers at Provet. The damage was extensive and unfortunately most of the wing had to be amputated. Sadly this means that the eagle will never be able to fly again. For now we’re keeping it in HESC’s hospital quarantine section until it’s fully recovered. We’re not sure about its future at this point, but we are happy to report that it’s on the mend and doing well.

A medium-sized eagle, the Bateleur is common in the savanna regions of sub-Saharan Africa. It builds its nest in a tree, and eggs need to incubate for 42–43 days before hatching. It then takes a further 90–125 days before the eaglets fledge. Bateleur eagles pair for life, and will generally use the same nest for a number of years. Unpaired Bateleur eagles have been known to help out at the nest. Clearly they’re very family oriented birds!



Christo Schreiber (curator) holding the Lizard buzzard

We discovered this beautiful bird in one of the cheetah camps recently. Its eyes were glazed over and it didn’t register anything that was going on around it. We took it to the Centre’s hospital quarantine for observation, and for the first two days it didn’t consume anything and its eyes remained closed. Only on the third day did it finally open its eyes and become more active. It also found its appetite again, although we decided to keep it in quarantine for another day so that it could regain its strength. On day five we released the bird back into the wild. We do see it around the Centre from time to time, most recently it was flying around in one of the king cheetah’s camps.

The Lizard buzzard occurs south of the Sahara in the open woodlands of tropical Africa. It builds its nest – which is made out of sticks – in the fork of a tree or in the crown of a palm tree. It lays a clutch of between one and three eggs at a time. A smallish and stocky raptor, the Lizard buzzard reaches a height of approximately 36cm.



The rescued leopard showing his displeasure

On the 8th of September we received another leopard through the Leopard Conservation Project. Project founder, Fred Berrang, together with Nature Conservation, discovered yet another caged leopard in the Limpopo district. The animal had been earmarked to be hunted by foreigners for a great deal of money. The leopard is a male, and looks to be in the region of seven years old. He is very beautiful, and given what he’d been through, extremely aggressive as well. Click here to read about the other leopard we took in.


HESC - Koos the parrot

Koos: Stoep supervisor, demagogue, and all-round smartypants

How to find water in the bush

  • Keep an eye out for water dependent birds. The Double-banded Sandgrouse flies to water in the early evenings, while the Namaqua Sandgrouse and certain geese will make their way to water in the early mornings.
  • Follow game paths. Paths made by animals will invariably converge and lead to a watering hole.
  • Listen for frogs and toads. These amphibians are a sure indicator that there is water close by.