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FAQs

General

Can the raptors breed in captivity?

Yes, the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary has bred 13 species in captivity both on and off display. It is important that the parent birds raise their own chicks to ensure that they ‘know that they are birds’ and could be returned to the wild.

Is the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary government supported?

The African Bird of Prey Sanctuary is supported by both provincial and national government in terms of our protected species operating licences which are issued from their respective conservation authorities. No financial support is, however, received from the government. The Sanctuary is privately funded and all revenue generated from the Sanctuary operations go towards the upkeep of the birds. So many people have pooled their resources and contributed to the continuity of the Sanctuary operations. We are truly blessed. Please see the supporters list for more details or refer to Dare to Care page if you would like to be part of this team.

Raptor Rescue

I’ve found an injured bird of prey- what do I do?

When you find a raptor that is obviously damaged or ill, then you need to try and catch it. Look for a cardboard box big enough to hold the bird. Place an old towel, piece of carpet in the bottom of the box to stop the injured bird sliding around. Punch some ventilation holes around the base of the box walls. Use another towel to catch the distressed bird by approaching it from behind and gently casting the towel over its body to cover its head. Then take it to a licensed rehabilitation centre as soon as possible. Raptor Rescue’s facilities are specifically for the needs of birds of prey. Call Ben on the Raptor Rescue Hotline,  082 35 90 900, for assistance.

Is a bird of prey going to eat my pet?

Most raptors are a lot smaller than they look. They are literally all feathers! Yellow-billed kites, for example, while they look quite large weigh in at less than one kilogram. They will often fly over to investigate any activity in your garden. During breeding season the adult birds may try to bomb you, or your pet, if you stray too close to their nest, but they are certainly not trying to eat you.
To confirm whether you should be apprehensive about your pet, look at the size of the raptor’s feet – not it’s wings. If the bird has large talons in comparison to the size of your cat or dog then be cautious and invite your pet inside while the bird is in the vicinity. The African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene) has a big wingspan and small dainty feet – your dog is safe. Crowned eagles have big feet to go with their broad wings, so you could be more concerned if you are the owner of a ‘miniature’ pet. So saying, the African Crowned Eagle predates primarily on monkeys and dassies and do not actively seek out pets to eat. Every now and again a young bird, which is struggling to hunt successfully, will try a small unsuspecting pet. They are pale white in colour and will be easy to identify.

Visitor Information

The birds that we see in the enclosures – are they going to be released?

No. The raptors in the enclosures on public view are what is termed ‘non-releaseable rehabilitation birds’ and are birds that have permanent injuries that prevent them from being able to survive in the wild. But, we can learn from their stories. Any injured, sick or orphaned bird of prey that comes in to Raptor Rescue is housed in the hospital which is off public display to ensure that that bird has the best chance of being returned to the wild.

I’d like to see a show. Do I need to book?

Booking is advisable for groups of 20 people or more; especially if you are wanting to eat at the restaurant. The African Bird of Prey Sanctuary staff will always try to cater for the specific needs of your party, so book ahead of time to facilitate this and to ensure that there are enough arena seats at show time. Walk-in guest are always welcome you may wish to phone before you leave home to check on the weather.

Are we allowed to bring our own food to the Sanctuary?

The onsite Kestrel café provides simple fare, but guests are welcome to bring their own meal or picnic. Alcohol is not served on site, but hot and cold liquid refreshments are available in the café and cool-drinks in cans to take with you as you wander around the bird enclosures.  While picnickers are welcome to use the outside café tables for their meal, it is obviously requested please that on public holidays, when the Sanctuary gets busy, that the paying café customers be given priority to the table facilities.