Be it a terrified tortoise, limping lion or catatonic cow, Twala Trust provides a much needed safe haven for distressed and rescued animals.
Located 25 km from the capital off Arcturus Road, the sanctuary is a non-profit, self-funded institution that focuses on the rescue and rehabilitation of wild, farm, and domestic animals and birds. Twala is run by trustees Sarah Carter and resident veterinarian Dr Vinay Ramlaul with support from a team of volunteers.
Carter says that the sanctuary works with the National Parks and the Zimbabwe Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA). It was established in 2012 after the trustees identified a need to help with the conservation and protection of birds and animals.
Twala provides free veterinary services for dogs from low-income families, courtesy of the 24-hr Veterinary Hospital in Harare where Dr Ramlaul also works.
“Twala offers conservation and animal welfare education to nearby rural communities. We also run free rural vet services, vaccinating dogs against rabies, sterilising, treating, and feeding up to 500 dogs every week free of charge,” she said.
The sanctuary spans 70 acres and has rescued animals from all over Zimbabwe. Twala manager Collen Mwatupa said he is happy with their community project which is helping to change people’s perceptions of animals. “Some people had the belief that owls are associated with witchcraft or that a black cat symbolises bad luck. But I am happy people are responding well to our conservation education,” he said.
Twala houses more than 300 birds and animals, ranging from crickets to fully grown lions, and many other animals which have established permanent homes at the centre because of the welcoming environment. Twala also has picnic spots, gardens, a dam for fishing, a swimming pool, guided tours, and a farm yard where children can feed animals.
“Visitors need to book in advance. Fees are $10 for adults and $5 for children, covering teas and guided tours. School visits can be arranged at $5 per head,” said Carter. If interested, the public can donate to Twala in cash or kind.
Image: Visitors to the sanctuary will enjoy close encounters with big cats.