How old mascara wands are helping South Africa's wildlife

The Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is appealing to women to donate their old mascara wands to help clean small wildlife.

CROW’s marketing and communications manager, Lana Bartholomew, said they used the wands to clean off ticks, fleas, dirt, insects, fly larvae and other parasites from birds and small mammals who have been brought into the centre.

“We find that the wands are softer to use as they do not hurt the animals,” Bartholomew said.

Some of the animals they clean with wands are birds, mongoose, gannets and bats. She said a fruit bat was recently admitted to the centre after it was brought in by someone who had found it on the ground. The bat was covered in fly larvae and the mascara wands were “amazing” in removing them.

“A pre-school recently donated a whole bunch of wands, at least 50,” she said. Bartholomew said if they had an excess of wands they would donate them to other centres.

She said they had started collecting in February and at present they had about 100 wands.

On average, mascara is said to last about three months, sometimes longer. Washing the wand is easy - remove it from the mascara container and wash it with dishwashing liquid until all the mascara is gone, and allow it to dry.

Find out more about how to donate here: IOL