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Marinell cares for Sun City’s wild guests

Sun City’s Fauna & Indoor Plants Manager Marinell Munro has a “huge passion for environmental education and animal rehabilitation,” which she lives out in her daily tasks at the resort.

The 39-year-old Pretoria born woman studied Nature Conservation at the Tshwane University of Technology and completed a course in Game Lodge Management. Munro moved to Sun City with her husband in 2012, where she first worked at Kamp Kwena as a Child Coordinator and then as an Administrator at the Maintenance Department, before joining a landscaping supplier, which maintains the Sun City grounds and golf courses, in 2018.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve had a huge love for animals and the outdoors. I also loved to watch 50/50 with my grandfather and knew that one day I wanted to work with and protect animals,” Munro said.

“In my current role, I am responsible for the maintenance, including watering, checking and spraying of plants against diseases and ensuring that all the indoor plants and pots across the resort are clean and litter free.  We also make sure that all the artificial plants are clean. On the fauna side, I am responsible for the wellbeing of all living creatures in Sun City.”

Munro does fence patrols to check for snares and does regular game counts. “At the animal shelter and clinic, we make sure the animals are taken care of and fed balanced diets, and that the area is kept clean and tidy. We make sure the walk-through aviary is clean and that the birds and parrots are healthy.”

The new parrot enclosure was designed and decorated by Munro and her team, who also put their creativity to the test in making toys to keep the birds occupied.

“I help treat sick or injured animals and the feral cat programme also forms part of my portfolio. My team and I learn different animal behaviours every day! I have learnt that there are many weird places where cats have their kittens. In January 2019 we discovered four kittens inside the hood of an SUV – the guests had driven from Johannesburg. They were very dirty, hungry, scared and had terrible eye infections from the dust. We treated them in our animal shelter, and they even made the newspaper.”

Munro and her team use special traps to capture stray cats, which are then spayed or neutered. “The really wild ones are released again, and the kittens are adopted. If you see a cat with a clipped ear you know it is a feral cat, which has been spayed or neutered.”

“I care about my staff, and their wellbeing is very important to me. I am not afraid to work hard and get dirty with them, and they know I will never ask them to do something I’m not willing to do myself (except getting animals out of high places, as I’m not very fond of heights!).”

Munro said she is a “firm believer in treating people the same way as you would like to be treated – no matter if it’s a general manager or a cleaner. If you want your staff to respect you, you need to equally respect them”.

“I am always proud when Sun City recognises my team’s efforts. The work we do has seen some of them changing their behaviour towards animals and even led to them wanting to go and study Veterinary Science. This makes me a very proud manager.”

Munro said her job often led to “a lot of heartache due to witnessing what humans are doing to this earth and the animals,” but that these feelings of sadness fade when she sees the expressions of “pure love” on the faces of sick and injured animals she treats.

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