Photo Credit: Grant Fairley, Dr K, Nicci Wright and Lauren Beckley

After rescuing ten threatened Southern African Pythons being kept in horrific conditions, a team of rescuers released seven back into the wild.


Johannesburg, South Africa (24 August 2021) – Whether you like snakes or not, they play a vital role in our ecosystems. Recently, the JWVH played a vital role in the rescue of 10 Threatened and protected Southern African Pythons. The snakes were kept in undesirable conditions, and all required medical attention.

Sadly, en route to the JWVH, one of the snakes passed away. The wildlife vet team have worked to save the lives of the other nine snakes.

The pythons were kept in ruthless conditions, many dehydrated and malnourished. They have spent the last few months recovering at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, receiving life-saving care and growing strong again.

Photo Credit: Grant Fairley, Dr K, Nicci Wright and Lauren Beckley

“Southern African Pythons (Python natalensis) are classified as CITES II internationally, and as a Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS) under the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act (10/2004). Thus, they are in need of our protection in order to be around for future generations to see. Unfortunately, reptiles don’t always hold the “cuteness” factor to everyone like birds and mammals do, which makes the fight for their safety even tougher.”

During their recovery, a team undertook the task of finding the perfect release site. Of the nine pythons rescued, seven were released back onto the wild.

“Rehabilitation and release of wild animals, especially those caught from the wild and subjected to any length of captivity, isn’t as simple as just releasing them when they are healthy. Apart from all the correct permits, it includes a thorough research of potential release sites. This is not only to ensure that the habitat is suitable and that they can acclimatise to their new environment, but also to ensure their safety. We don’t just want them to survive, we want them to thrive. Pythons spend a large part of their lives in or near water and these were all released with this in mind. In the photos one can almost feel their joy as they enter the water.”

Sadly, the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital is seeing more cases of trafficked/traded and illegally kept Southern African Pythons at their hospital.

“Alarmingly we have seen more than a 1000% increase in traded Southern African pythons (SAP) admitted to our hospital in the last four years. In the first 7 months of 2021 the number of SAP admissions as a result of illegal activity are already more than double that of the preceeding 4 years combined! This level of illegal trade is not sustainable and if we all don’t work together to stop it, we won’t have these beautiful creatures around in our futures.”

The rescue and release efforts could not have been made possible thanks to Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital team member Grant Fairley, Andrew Jackson, Steve Dell, DEDECT (North West Department of Economic Development, Environment, Conservation and Tourism) as well as the NSPCA (National Council of SPCAs).

Photo Credit: Grant Fairley, Dr K, Nicci Wright and Lauren Beckley

The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital treats indigenous for free, so they rely on donations to keep doing the good work they do. Below are the various payment options for the Wildlife Vet; they rely on donations, so if you can, you can donate through the methods below.


Paypal:… (For the USA and international-based donors)

Johannesburg Wildlife NPC
FNB Cheque account
Account nr: 62658400264
Branch code: 255355
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

Sources: JWVH
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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