Vulture Viewing Machine
Funding Required: R 55 000
In Africa the belief that vultures have clairvoyant or telepathic powers has resulted in the widespread use of vulture body parts in traditional
medicine. This unsustainable consumption is putting massive pressure on the already threatened vulture populations. At the current rate of consumption, for example, the White-backed vulture species could be extinct in as little as twelve years if we do not reverse this trend. Through education, we hope that children will choose to oppose this illegal trade.
The binocular viewing machine will enable children from underprivileged communities (who may never have used a pair of binoculars) to understand magnified vision and to actually experience how a vulture sees about eight times better than
humans do. Empowered with the knowledge that vultures locate food using this brilliant eyesight, we hope to dispel the cultural belief that vultures find their food through telepathy.
This long term asset would be imported from the USA at a cost of US$7306.64 and installed at a cost of R1950 at the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary. The viewing machine will then be available, free of charge, for all who visit to the Sanctuary and is also wheelchair-friendly.
Indoor Flight & Education Centre Funding Required: R 750 000
Although the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary is the biggest of its kind on the continent, it is currently only an open-air facility and problems arise when schools visit in inclement weather. At the Sanctuary entrance there is an existing 684m² shed structure which, when refurbished and sub-divided, would make a unique all-weather indoor flying arena (seating 150+ people) and an ideal education centre, with a classroom and interpretive displays.
In this upgraded facility visiting learners could learn about birds of prey no matter what the weather. Interpretive displays and multimedia resources will also reinforce the understanding of raptors, and the habitats that sustain them, by adding a ‘touch’ element to the learning experience. This facility would also double as an adult learning and conferencing venue for all stakeholders.
View of the raptor enclosures from the Media Centre deck (Artist’s impression)
The Wetland Habitat Enclosure Sponsorship required: R 401 786.00
Habitat loss, or degradation, has been identified as the primary threat to most endangered species. The construction of a ‘wetland enclosures’ is proposed to showcase the importance of this concept. This structure will comprise of a frieze of adjacent enclosures housing a selection of raptor species that are similar, not in classification, but in where they naturally make their home. Learners will safely enter into this ‘living classroom’ to experience how every individual species is actually part of an interacting environmental whole. The wetlands that we wish to showcase are, in fact, also under threat and have high biological importance.The sponsor supporting these powerful ‘education tools’ will have their name on a living, moving advert attesting to their environmental support, 365 days a year!
This Enclosure (31 by 24m) will house the iconic African Fish eagle, Palmnut vultures, Marsh owls and Marsh harriers, and the rare Pels Fishing owl. A timber jetty will enable visitors to walk right over the water and marshy areas and seemingly enter into the water world of these birds.
A Grassland Habitat Funding Required: R211 425.00
Grassland eco-systems are under threat and have high biological importance. This habitat loss has been identified as the primary threat to most endangered species. The construction of a frieze of ‘grassland enclosures’ is proposed to showcase the importance of this concept. The location of the Grassland Habitat has been planned at the Sanctuary and in fact the feathered residents are already on standby!
The Grassland Habitat will be home to at least 25 raptors and will consist of a horseshoe of enclosures around a central atrium. On entering this atrium visitors a walk-through aviary housing a selection of kestrel species. The larger surrounding enclosures will house secretary birds, endangered Grass owls, Jackal buzzards, African hawk-eagles, Snake eagles and other grassland species. This 30 by 19m enclosure will be constructed into the existing veld, so even though these non-releaseable rehabilitation birds can no longer survive in the wild, their safe enclosure environment will be continuous with the surrounding grassland that stretches to the horizon.
Wheelchair Walkways Funds Needed: R34 000
The African Bird of Prey Sanctuary has currently no formal pathways and it is therefore difficult for people with physical disabilities to move over the informal grassy terrain. By making key facility areas more wheelchair-friendly, a wider variety of visitors could have access to these beautiful aerial predators.
1. A pathway to Hoot Hollow and Eagle Alley where the indigenous owls and the big five eagles are housed will cost R 16 405
2. A pathway to facilitate easy movement between the entrance, the flying arena and ablution facilities will cost R 17 600