A Cape Town man is set to take on the gruelling Munga Grit Tankwa Challenge in aid of the Cape of Good Hope Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
Tienie Maree will be taking on the 1,000km non-stop cycle race from November 29 until December 4.
In 2022, Maree completed the challenge and managed to raise over R51,000, and this year he is aiming higher.
He is taking on this challenge as the Cape of Good Hope SPCA faces a huge challenge.
The organisation’s spokesperson, Belinda Abraham said in the last financial year it has experience a 27% increase in surrendered animal admissions and all indications are that this year the numbers will be higher.
“It’s really tough. A 41% of the more than 2,500 animals coming through our doors every month were once someone’s pet but are now no longer wanted,” Abraham said.
“The Cape of Good Hope SPCA never turns any animal away. We wouldn’t want to. We’ve seen first-hand what happens to animals when shelters who are at capacity turn them away.”
She said the SPCA does not charge people anything who are giving up their pets as it is one of the many services provided by the organisation to prevent animal cruelty.
“We can’t allow animals to pay the price when pet owners are unable to make a financial contribution,” Abraham said.
“Animals are also not turned away based on breed, temperament, behaviour, disease, or injury. Every animal coming through our gates is given a safe sanctuary. For whatever reason pets are no longer wanted, we know it’s not their fault.”
She said the SPCA’s animal care facility is placed under severe pressure by more than 1,000 unwanted animals being surrendered into its care every month.
All incoming animals must be quarantined, health checked, behaviourally assessed, fed, vaccinated, exercised, disinfected, litter boxes emptied, cleaned, and refilled, blankets and bowls must be washed and sanitised, and most importantly, they must be given love.
Abraham said the estimated cost for the SPCA this year for this service is R4.6 million.
“We don’t charge for this, but it isn’t free. With the festive season upon us we’ll soon be seeing even more animals being handed in as their owners leave to visit family and friends in other provinces or go on holiday,” Abraham said.
But, one man is determined to assist the organisation as he does the 120 hour challenged through the Karoo during high temperatures to ensure the SPCA keeps its doors open to every animal seeking a home.
“For an animal, life on the streets means hunger, exposure to the elements, a high risk of abuse, and no help if they become sick or injured. This race won’t be easy, but I’m prepared to suffer so that animals don't have to,” Maree said.
The challenge has been globally recognised as the roughest race on earth.
“We’re thankful to Tienie for challenging himself in a way that highlights both the crisis we currently find ourselves facing and the suffering of animals that will result if we don’t meet it. Tienie is taking on this incredibly tough challenge, so we can take on ours. We think he’s a hero,” Abraham said.
The SPCA has urged members of the public to support Maree in getting over the finish line and donating via its website: https://capespca.co.za/get-involved/team-spca/munga4mutts/