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About Aquila Rescue Centre (ARC) and Conservation Centre

ARC (Aquila Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Conservation Centre) is a non-profit section 21 organisation # 2004/011009/08
It was established as a sanctuary for animals that can never be released into the wild again and a temporary home for those who need attention before being released into the wild.

Orphaned Rhino Calf

A desperate drama is playing out at Aquila Private Game Reserve, in the western cape, after the birth of the third baby rhino in the past 3 months. The two calves born, one in October and the other in mid-December are both thriving, but the third calf, born in the early hours of this morning (New Years Eve) is being rescued from dehydration after being rejected by its mother. To further complicate matters the calf has attached itself to the father, who is very aggressive and is making it impossible for Vets to get near the calf.

Saving Private Rhino

The “Saving Private Rhino” initiative has been established to ensure the future conservation of Africa’s rhino and wildlife heritage, by providing the most comprehensive, integrated anti-poaching solution available to every private game reserve in Africa which needs assistance defending its wildlife.
In August 2011 Aquila Private Game Reserve was hit by a horrific poaching incident that saw three rhino attacked, with two of the rhino brutally killed and de-horned. Free counter-poaching security training courses have been established, to teach rangers how to protect themselves as well as their rhino and wildlife population.
Aquila was responsible for a R30million ivory arrest, the largest ever in the Western Cape. On a separate occasion, two Zambian nationals were arrested trying to sell a baby rhino horn covered in blood.
For more information regarding the tragedy, visit

Rescue and Rehabilitation Initiatives

Aquila has invested over R1million building a large outdoor sanctuary comprising of several 1 hectare fenced camps where once doomed “canned lions” can live out the remainder of their lives. ARC is also home to a rescued leopard and a cheetah breeding pair (part of a cheetah breeding programme). From time to time Aquila is fortunate enough to be able to rescue and release animals from the Centre. We have released 3 mountain leopards, numerous lynx, porcupines, owls and many other species. ARC is also home to a newly created Education centre which houses information on our Eco Synergy systems as well as information on the plight of the Rhino.

Black Eagle Initiative

Cape Town’s Big 5, Aquila Private Game Reserve, was created 15 years ago, and is named after the rarely-sighted Black or Verreaux’s Eagle (Aquila verreauxii). This raptor is regularly seen from a distance by eagle-eyed rangers and Aquila’s guests.
As part of a leopard monitoring programme, Aquila staff place cameras at the site of recent kills made by several of the elusive and endangered nocturnal Cape Mountain Leopards that hunt on the Reserve. Cameras have been placed at the carcasses of three different Blesbok that have been killed during the last month. Searl Derman, owner of Aquila Private Game Reserve, was delighted to view the camera trap footage, which shows two pristine black eagles feasting leisurely on the leopard’s prey. A ranger at Aquila has logged two broad daylight sightings of a pair of these nocturnal leopards during the last few months. Owner Derman commented that “it is nice to have a healthy natural predation at Aquila, and although lions, elephants, buffalo and rhino are regularly seen, the leopards are elusive and until now, only spoor, scat and the carcasses of the leopard kills were seen regularly on game drives.

Eco Synergy Systems

The re-introduction of safari game and the Big 5 to the Western Cape (buffalo, leopards, lion, elephants and rhino). Aquila is proud to have been the first game reserve to re-introduce the Big 5 (for the first time in 250 years, since they were shot out by colonial hunters).
Aquaculture / Aquaponics: Approximately 30,000 tilapia fish are based at ARC and Aquila. Aquila’s menu has been restructured to include these fish where possible. Our goal is to produce up to 6.5 tons of fish per annum, and to produce the ZAR1.7million worth of fruit, vegetables and fish that Aquila consumes annually, organically fertilized and on-site (reducing our carbon footprint). Excess tilapia are supplied to the soup kitchen in the Food for Litter campaign. The tilapia are organically fed. When slaughtered, 30% of the fish weight is waste which is used to feed the Biogas plant. The fish water is used in the aquaculture system to organically fertilize the greenhouse and tunnel crops.

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