I want to volunteer at animal sanctuaries in South Africa. How can I begin my search/find out which ones are ethical and truly invested in helping the animals?

We at AnimalSpirit support animals telepathically. We are not directly involved in the business of animal sanctuaries nor do we have the time to research them. Volunteering at an ethical animal establishment is a complex issue in South Africa, with the majority of places pretending to be what they aren’t. Even the SPCA struggles to identify legitimate places. 

We suggest you carefully look into the facilities you are interested in with a view to avoiding any of the following:

- any facility that offers you to assist in the raising of cubs as these animals cannot and never will be freed into a natural and wild environment (having been imprinted upon humans). In fact, they are most often doomed to die as young adults by being shot for trophies as soon as they are too old to be fondled safely. The so-called “canned breeding and hunting” industry produces cubs specifically to feed the market of sports hunters who kill the helpless animals in their enclosures, for the sake of their skins, heads and bones.

- any park or “sanctuary” that allows tourists/visitors to pet, walk or directly handle wild species. Their focus is definitely not on conservation, but rather aimed at making profit. Animals cannot be reintroduced into the wild once petted by humans. There is NO conservation value in such activities, despite claims to the contrary.

If it’s not clear whether facilities practice the above, then ask them directly. We strongly suggest you ask the place in question for their most recent annual financial statements, to prove what percentage of their profits went to conserving those species in the wild through genuine field conservation endeavours.

Please read these first-hand accounts from volunteers who believed the marketing lies that most of the so-called sanctuaries in South Africa advertise:
https://lionexploitation.wordpress.com/real-life-experiences/kirstens-blog/
http://claws-out.com

For an up-to-date list of places in Africa, see https://www.facebook.com/notes/volunteers-in-africa-beware/the-good-bad-and-ugly-lists-for-volunteering-places-in-africa/849870441727120/