:: About the Foundation
FreeMe is headed up by CEO Margi Brocklehurst and an executive committee of five. It is staffed and operated by a full time manager, two support staff and a dedicated group of trained volunteers (presently 30). It caters for a large variety of birds e.g. garden birds, raptors and water birds. Many small mammals such as hedgehogs, squirrels, mongooses, suricates, jackals and foxes are also cared for as well as smaller cat species.
Educational talks and presentations are made to schools in Gauteng to instil conservation values in scholars for the future conservation of nature. Bird and other animal exhibits are held for the benefit of the community, viz. bird clubs, retirement homes and farmers as well as other groups. Each has a specific definition and set of criteria laid down by the IUCN (The World Conservation Union) to classify the conservation status of a species.
Threatened is an umbrella term referring to those species that are in most need of conservation action and includes species that are classified as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable, depending on the severity of their status. Fortunately none are Endangered, but four; lion, cheetah, African golden cat and black footed cat are vulnerable.
Although its overall status is Vulnerable, in West and Central Africa the lion is Endangered. The largest populations occur in East and South Africa. In South Africa the most important lion populations are in the Kruger National Park with a population of over 2 000, and one of the largest wild populations left in Africa, and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which contains a population of about 500 individuals. The main threat to the wild cat is pollution of the pure bred African wild cat population by cross breeding with feral domestic cats.