About Friends of Free Wildlife

Our Roots

Friends of Free Wildlife is a community-based, public-funded volunteer organisation. It became a registered Non-Profit organization on 31st May 2016. The wildlife centre is run by passionate and qualified wildlife rehabilitators with the best interest of our urban wildlife at heart.

Our Vision

To create a well-respected, ethical wildlife rehabilitation centre that provides for the care of urban wildlife: that is, the rescue, rehabilitation and release of the animals that share our space and the education of the general public.

​We operate under a Rehabilitation Permit granted by GDARD (Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development)

We are a registered NPO (Non-Profit Organization) – NPO Reg: 171-026NPO.
We are affiliated with the NSPCA and work closely with all SPCAs.
​We are an approved Public Benefit Organization and hold a B-BBEE Level 4 EME.
We rely on the generosity of the public through donations, bequests, sponsorship and voluntary assistance in all aspects of running the organisation.

 

KEY PEOPLE

Our Board 

Margi Brocklehurst – CEO

Margi is passionate about ethical wildlife rehabilitation and education in all areas of society and most importantly the role of volunteers in our organisation. Margi has completed the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Basic Course as well as the IWRC advanced courses in Pain & Wound Management, Fluid Therapy, Parasitology. She also organises and coordinates our IWRC courses.

​Margi and her husband Rob have 2 wonderful daughters, Zoë, a wildlife scientist/ecologist and Kirsti who works as a senior online travel editor. ​Margi has 3 dogs, a parrot and two garden ponds, one for the koi and one for the tilapia and the frogs, and she is a keen gardener when time allows!

Jean Kübler (BA, LLB, LLM) – Legal director

Jean Urs Kübler specialises in Commercial Law, Company Law, Contract Law, Property Law and Labour Law. Jean is fully bilingual in both English and German and is admitted as a Conveyancer and a Notary Public.

Prior to founding SLKB Inc. Jean was an Associate at a reputable German law firm in Johannesburg, where he assisted a multitude of mainly German clients. Before entering practice, Jean lectured at the University of the Witwatersrand at the Oliver Schreiner School of Law, where he instructed in the fields of Business Enterprises Law, Mercantile Law, Commercial Law, Law of Lease, Law of Succession, Family Law, and Law of Persons. Jean still lectures at the University on a part time basis. Out of the office, Jean has a keen interest in classic cars.

Dr Georgie Spanos BVSc – Veterinary director

I wanted to be a vet for as long as I could remember, and I’ve always been fascinated with the more weird and wonderful creatures. I’ve always been passionate about conservation and almost became a wildlife vet instead of a smallies vet. I qualified in 2019 and completed my Community Service year doing rural upliftment work on the West Rand. After that, I became a part of the BAESAC family. I’m glad to have found a place where I can do exotic animal medicine and help our local wildlife.

Claudia Hosking – Administration director

I moved from Germany to South Africa in 1991 and I developed a passion for animals and the bush in no time. I completed the FGASA Level 1 course and was lucky to spend some years in Zambia & Kenya experiencing untouched wildernesses and stunning wildlife. In Zambia I got involved with Lusaka Animal Welfare and managed the dog & cat shelter as well as the rescues and steri & vaccination outreach programs.

Returning to South Africa I was fortunate to hear about Friends of Free Wildlife and attended the Orientation in 2017. I started volunteering 2 shifts a week at the Rehab Centre and got more and more involved over the years. As the volunteer co-ordinator I help run the Orientations and organise the weekly shift schedules.

In 2018 the opportunity to get involved with bat rehab came along, and I have not looked back. I have a passion for these little flying mammals and could not imagine my life without rehabbing these incredible creatures.

Ilana Lakofski (Illy) – Communications director

I have always been a wildlife advocate, my prime interest being birds.  Growing up with many different bird species in our home I developed a deep affection and passion for our feathered friends to the extent that people used to bring me injured birds to ‘fix’.  In 2021 I joined the FFW team of volunteers and have never looked back. My interest evolved into something far greater with the knowledge and experience gained from working directly with urban indigenous wildlife.  Wanting to grow and learn even more, I completed my IWRC training in 2023

I am a sound engineer by profession which has allowed me the opportunity to work on a couple of wildlife documentaries such as Lions, Bones and Bullets and Whale Wash. Having a background in sound and video led me to become more involved with the social media aspect of FFW. I joined FFW to make a difference in the lives of animals that come through our doors on a daily basis and to live the mission of rescue, rehabilitate and release.

Wendy Brodie – Funding director

I have always had a great love of animals and was fortunate enough to become involved with Wildlife Rehabilitation in 2002 when I joined the now defunct FreeMe.
Having worked 2/3 shifts a week for the past 22 years, I have enjoyed an amazing journey into the world of urban wildlife rescue as well as working with passionate and dedicated volunteers and staff.

Over the years I have completed a number of IWRC courses and have certificates in Basic Rehabilitation, Animal First Aid and Stabilization, Pain and Wound Management and Hydration and Parasite Control.

I sleep easier at night knowing that every effort has been made to save our compromised urban wildlife and to have played a small part in their rescue, care and comfort.

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Kevin Pearl – Operations director

I was born in Krugersdorp and attended Krugersdorp High School. I studied law at Wits University but did not complete my degree.

I have had a passion for animals, particularly birds and reptiles, from a very early age. From 12 years old, I worked weekends at the African Fauna Bird Park to earn pocket money. Most of my professional career was in the Motor industry and later on, in the Fire Suppression and CCTV industry. I retired in 2023.

I began volunteering for wildlife rescue at FreeMe in 2001, and I am a founder member of Friends of Free Wildlife. I have completed a number of course via the IWRC, and have certificates in the following: Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation, Animal First Aid and Stabilisation, Pain and Wound Management and Hydration and Parasite Control.

I have previously served on a number of Boards and I have been on the Board of Directors of Friends of Free Wildlife since December 2023.

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TEAM

Get to know us

Claudius Sibanda – Senior Animal Manager

Claudius is our Senior Animal Manager and a Founding Member of Friends of Free Wildlife. He started working as a wildlife rehabilitator in 2002 under the tutelage of Margi, who at that time was CEO of FreeMe Wildlife Centre (now closed and defunct).

He has been an integral part of establishing the Free Wildlife Centre and over the past 20 years, gained vast experience of many species of birds, mammals and reptiles. He is involved in all aspects of our Centre and trains our volunteers through different levels of basic and advanced wildlife courses. Claudius has continued with his education after passing his A Levels in Zimbabwe. He has a Diploma in Veterinary Service and Agriculture and was a veterinary inspector in Zimbabwe; Certificate for Snake Handling and Snake Bite treatment and a Diploma in Veterinary Surgery. Claudius has also has completed the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council Basic Course as well as the IWRC advanced courses in Pain & Wound Management, Fluid Therapy, Parasitology.

Bethwell Ngwenya – Animal Care Assistant

Bethwell Ngwenya has been at Free Wildlife since 2021 and he is an essential part of our team. He looks after the day to day care of wild animals in a variety of different settings, under supervision.

He works in kitchen, in the enclosures and also the clinic. He is excellent at setting up our cages for different species, cage enrichment is a large part of his job.


Veterinary Support

 A huge thank you to our supporting vets at BRYANSTON AVIAN, EXOTIC & SMALL ANIMAL CLINIC  

Pic: Dr Melissa; Dr Georgie; Margi; Dr Perushan; Dr Jean

Free Wildlife has a large list of veterinarians who regularly assist with orphaned and injured indigenous wildlife including: 
Craighall Veterinary Hospital; Boskruin Veterinary Clinic; Randpark Ridge Veterinary Hospital; Radiokop Animal Clinic; Orange Grove
Veterinary Hospital; Chartwell Veterinary Clinic; Lammermoor Veterinary Clinic; Honeydew Animal Clinic; Three Rivers Veterinary Clinic,
Vereeniging.

FFW rely on this invaluable professional service to assist the public who find wild animals
that need attention; the vets and their staff often stabilise and care for the animals whilst waiting for one of our FFW volunteers to call and collect.

Valued Partnerships

Bidvest Services South Africa (SA) 

proud sponsors of renovations and remodelling of FFW at 69, Rose Road, Sun Valley, Kyalami

SLKB Inc.

Pro Bono Attorneys

G Z & Co.

Pro Bono Accountants & Auditors

FNB Donor Choice Foundation

sponsored the revamp and upgrade for our new mammal enclosures

KIKLO

sponsors of our fibre connection