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Meet Anne Rasa

Kalahari Trails – South Africa


Professor Anne Rasa is a pioneer in the field of ethology, who has spent much of her life conducting ground-breaking research on the behaviour and biology of mongoose species.

Professor Rasa’s illustrious career has taken her around the world, where she carried out research studies, wrote books, and taught at various universities.
Anne Rasa is now having a rather unconventional retirement. After years of working with various animal species in deserts all around the world, Anne realised her life’s dream was to own and restore a piece of desert land that had been degraded by human activity and give it back to nature.

After visiting the Kalahari almost 20 years ago, Anne became aware of the impacts the illegal-pet trade was having on meerkat populations, and she decided she needed to do something to help fight the illegal trade of these misunderstood species. 

This is how Kalahari Trails came to be, where Anne at the age of 79 is still rescuing and rehabilitating desert animals, specifically Meerkats.

My life has been purely serendipitous; I have been in the right place at the right time. Of all the other animals I could have chosen, I chose those, and they determined the rest of my life.
- Anne Rasa

Meerkats are incredibly social animals and live in large family-like, matriarchal led groups in the wild. 

This social structure and support is essential to the survival of meerkats.

People often keep meerkats as pets illegally and without any knowledge of their behaviour or needs. Due to their expensive price tag, meerkats are often sold individually, leaving these highly social animals alone and under severe stress. 

This stress stimulates aggressive behaviour, which often leads to them becoming unwanted and their owners release them back into the wild. 

Unfortunately, these previously domesticated meerkats have very little chance of surviving in the wild on their own as they lack the essential survival skills needed to feed themselves and avoid predators. 

In many cases, Anne is the last hope of survival for these meerkats.

Professor Anne Rasa currently has over 20 meerkats in her care at Kalahari Trails.

These meerkats all have incredibly distinctive personalities and they have all come from different backgrounds; some are orphans and others have been confiscated from the illegal pet trade, but with the help of Professor Rasa, who works to integrate new arrivals, they have become one big family. Meerkats living at Kalahari Trails are free to come and go as they please and while they are greatly missed when they return to the wild, it is always a victory for the Kalahari Trails team when their meerkats are able to successfully be reintegrated into the wild. To date, Anne has rehabilitated and released over 100 meerkats back into the wild.

Over the years, Professor Anne Rasa has gained invaluable knowledge and expertise in caring for and rehabilitating meerkats and other mongoose species. Her knowledge, love and dedication to the meerkats in her care has been instrumental in ensuring their survival and successful rehabilitation.

Anne has dedicated the rest of her life to giving these animals a better chance at survival, adding to our understanding of meerkats and educating the world about the dangers and scale of the illegal pet trade.

Anne has dedicated the rest of her life to giving these animals a better chance at survival, adding to our understanding of meerkats and educating the world about the dangers and scale of the illegal pet trade.

We’ve opened doors to other young women who can take the torch on from us, saving what is left of this planet before it is all destroyed.

- Anne Rasa

Anne is a pioneer in her field and she has helped to open the doors to women successfully working in the field and contributed to and empowered a new generation of women to carry the torches that Anne and women like her lit nearly 60 years ago.

Without women like Anne, we would not be as far as we are today.

Watch our short film to learn more about Anne

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You can learn more about the work Anne and her team are doing, and how you can support this work here -

Anne Rasa

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