Petronel Nieuwoudt has over 25 years’ experience in the care and conservation of wildlife.
After finishing her university studies in 1991, Petronel joined the Endangered Species Protection Unit of the South African Police Service (ESPU) where she held the rank of Captain. In 1999 she left the Police Service and started The Game Capture School. Petronel managed the school for ten years, which was the first comprehensive training academy in South Africa to offer courses to veterinarians and non-veterinarians that focused on the theoretical and practical aspects of best practices for wildlife capture, care and management.
Petronel also started the Sondela Wildlife Centre In Bela Bela and the Tamboti Wildlife Centre in Mookopong. In 2011 Petronel moved to Mpumalanga where her passion for the protection of wildlife resulted in the founding of Care for Wild Africa, a rescue and rehabilitation centre for all wildlife in need.
As the rhino poaching crisis developed, so too did the need for a highly specialized care facility. Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary NPC was established in 2015. Since its beginning, Petronel and Care for Wild have rescued rhinos with the mission to rehabilitate, rewild and release these rhinos into protected and healthy ecosystems to ensure the survival of the species. Petronel’s vision is one that is inclusive of community involvement and sustainability.
“Let’s row together! One team one dream!”
Almost 20 years later, she’s one of South Africa’s leading animal welfare experts, thanks to her extensive experience in the hand-rearing, management and safe capture of infant, injured and orphaned animals.