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Free to be Wild Sanctuary

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Free to be Wild Sanctuary

Baye Pigors | Primate Conservationist

Growing up in Zimbabwe, I have always had an affinity for animals. As a child, my garden was filled with a host of animals in need of care, but it was in 2013 that I met and fell in love with my first orphaned baby baboon.

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When Umfazi, as we called her, came to me, I promised I would return her to the wild one day. Little did I know that this promise was the first step in a life-changing journey. I looked for guidance on the correct way to care for Umfazi in a way that would prepare her to be a free baboon again. It soon became apparent that there was no set-up in Zimbabwe that rehabilitated primates intending to reintroduce them to the wild.

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I spent many months travelling to Southern African primate sanctuaries and researching rehabilitation methods for various wildlife. This culminated in the formation of the Free to be Wild Sanctuary in 2014.

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Since then, I am proud that my fantastic team and I have released many previously captive or orphaned primates into their natural habitat. I have also been privileged to participate in the rehab and release of servals, pangolins, owls and several other species.

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From the fateful day I first met Umfazi, each animal has taken up a unique space in my heart as one of my Free to be Wild children. Eight years later, and now with my two human wild children at my side, I happily spend my time pursuing the best practices for rehabilitating and releasing all wild animals in need.

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Image Credits: Jessie Sargeant