Wolves may have to be euthanased if a miracle doesn’t happen

The wolf sanctuary in Hartbeespoort is in dire straits and if a miracle doesn’t happen that will enable them to buy the property the sanctuary is situated on, the animals under their care may sadly have to be euthanased.

Lexi Austen with one of the wolves at the sanctuary.

The All Hearts Foundation (AHF) wolf sanctuary in Broederstroom has until the end of April to buy or vacate the property which is home to 31 wolves and various other rescued animals.

“It is heartbreaking, but we will have no other choice. The wolves ended up in a sanctuary because they were acquired as pets by individuals who did not realise these are wild animals and not domestic pets. Some of them were fated for the canned hunting industry. But we will not give up hope. We pray for a miracle,” says Lexi Austen who founded the non-profit foundation with her husband, Ronnie. The sanctuary was opened in Hartbeespoort in 2018 and has relied on visitors and tours to the sanctuary and donations from the public.

“We were working towards buying the property but then COVID-19 hit. Tours and visits had to stop, people were struggling financially and donations dried up, and it has not recovered. We have been struggling financially and every last cent goes to the animals. We received an eviction notice and unless we buy the property, we have to leave. We have been trying very hard to raise funds, find investors or partners to save the animals’ home, but time is running out. We are devastated,” she says.

Lexi and Ronnie founded AHF in 2016 in order to save a pack of Canadian timber wolves. They rented the 21 ha farm in Broederstroom with the option to buy. “Our aim was not only to be a sanctuary for abandoned wolves but to educate people and inform them why these beautiful animals are not pets and why it is not a good idea to cross-breed wolves with domestic dogs.”

More rescues followed, not only wolves but also a variety of rescued dogs, cats and farm animals. “We did extensive work on the property, erecting fences, enclosures, building dams… and if they are able to find another property, it will cost around R900 000 to move everything! If we can raise R1 million, it should be enough to secure a bond to buy the farm for its selling price of R3.8 million. We are trying everything we can,” Lexi says.
“People contact us all the time for assistance with rescued animals. All of these animals will be homeless by the end of April if our miracle does not come. We have consulted with the relevant nature conservation department and if all else fails, the animals will have to be euthanased. This is the devastating reality, that is why we keep on believing that help will come.”

AHF has been busy with a variety of fundraising projects, but progress is very slow. “We are looking for possible investors or partners to assist us, or any other donation that will enable us to keep this sanctuary for the animals.”

Donations to AHF is tax-deductible. Visit their Facebook page All Hearts Foundation SA for various fundraising projects. If you want to help, or are interested in investing in this sanctuary, contact 072 873 3881. Visit the website www.allheartsfoundation.co.za.