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We have a very special team of people who have dedicated their lives to the saving of animals in need. We work long and hard hours caring for the injured animals brought into our care and  we are passionate about what we do and the impact that we are making

Machel Van Niekerk


Meet Machel, the heart of the Kalahari Wildlife Project...

I am the owner of the Kalahari Rehabilitation Project in the Northern Cape. I grew up in the Kalahari Area and returned after my studies to live on Morgenswag farm for the past 34 years. I was fortunate to be accepted for my tertiary studies at the University of Pretoria to study Veterinary Nursing at Ondersteport, qualifying in 1985. While studying I worked at the Pretoria Zoo, helping in a nursing capacity with all animal species at the Zoo and on the breeding research farm. The time I spent there gave me valuable insight into care and rehabilitation necessary to carry on my passion for conservation and rehabilitation of the wildlife in the Kalahari area. 


My initial rehabilitation projects included birds of prey, mammals including pangolins and buck. All wildlife needing care and assistance. I worked alongside Dr Lategan in Upington with wildlife capturing. In November 2018 I completed a wildlife rehabilitation course at Naankuse, in Namibia. During 2019 I worked with Dr Karen Lourens and Dr Nicci wright at the Johannesburg Wildlife hospital with the pangolins, attending workshops and learning necessary protocols. Being a farmer and residing in the area where the largest population of pangolins are found, I have a vested interest to do my utmost for the wildlife, as well as an insight into the farmer’s perspective.

The Pangolin Minders

We have dedicated minders, who spend all day with the Pangolins helping them forage for ants, build their strength to become independent and then released back into the wild.



In looking to the future it is necessary to educate and involve the community and the youth. 

I believe we need to stand together in our quest, to share our knowledge so we can all contribute to the big picture of conservation of the endangered pangolin.

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