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Brangelina cash to help sanctuary

Hollywood couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have donated two million US dollars (£1.2m) to a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, where they spent Christmas with their children.

Jolie gave birth to the couple's daughter Shiloh, in Swakopmund, Namibia, in 2006.

They chose to return there with Shiloh, now four, and her five siblings, three of whom are adopted, for Christmas.

"We want (Shiloh) to grow up with an understanding of her country of birth," Angelina said.

The family stayed at the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, 26 miles outside of Namibia's capital, Windhoek, while they were there.

Run by physician Dr Rudie van Vuuren and his wife Marlice, the 10,000 hectare sanctuary accommodates mostly orphaned and injured animals that cannot be released back into the wild, including lions, leopards and cheetahs and baboons. It also provides luxury accommodation, the proceeds of which go towards conservation projects.

When the couple dropped in on the sanctuary for Christmas, their children watched Dr van Vuuren stitch the wounds of a wild dog. They also witnessed the release of a leopard back into the wild.

As a parting gift, the couple donated the money to the sanctuary.

"We have known Rudie and Marlice for many years and continue to be impressed by their hard work and dedication to the people and conservation of the land and wildlife of Namibia," Jolie said.

An ambassador for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, Jolie was ranked the world's most respected celebrity for her philanthropic work by the Reuters Foundation's humanitarian website AlertNet in 2008.

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