Bearded Vultures are beautiful birds and their survival is in jeopardy. Thankfully there are people like Shannon intent on saving the species.
Some folk are devoted to their dog others to their cat. Well, Shannon not only loves the birds in her care she has devoted her life to save these lions of the skies.
Little did Russ and I know how much our lives would be changed that first time we met Shannon at the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary outside of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.
Shannon and her former husband Ben rescue and rehabilitate birds of prey. That’s eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, vultures, kites and so on. Ben patches them back together. Many can be released. The few that can’t due to the nature of their injury or human imprinting (getting too familiar and comfortable around humans) stay at the sanctuary.
More than a safe haven for Raptors
These gorgeous birds live out their lives at the sanctuary, keeping them confined is super sad for Shannon. However, the upside is they become ambassadors for their species. Ambassadors to thousands of local school children, families and overseas visitors every year. A select few are personally trained by Shannon to delight and educate visitors during their daily flying demonstrations.
Shannon shows why some raptors (birds of prey) have short tails and others long. Why some use their beaks and others their talons to secure their prey. Why some have broad wings and some skinny ones, to either soar high or dash through the brush. Why owls fly without a sound and why kites scream a lot.
Most importantly though, Shannon breaks myths. For example: Some believe owls are bad omens and sniffing vulture brains helps win the lotto. As you can imagine this leads to the death of many.
Shannon has this way with her audiences. Russ and I were both smitten that first time at the Sanctuary. It was actually that very experience that triggered our starting Nikela to assist amazing people like Shannon save more wildlife.
For the most part Shannon’s daily guests help sustain her work, but more recently a huge need presented itself.
Species in trouble
The Bearded Vulture, probably the most good looking of all the vultures, is in serious trouble in South Africa. After rescuing the Bearded Lady from a witch doctor and later two chicks Shannon just had to do something.
To make a long story short, at least for now, Shannon took on a huge project to breed, raise and release Bearded Vultures.
A few years back we assisted with the construction of the Bearded Lady’s new home. And now it’s on to raise some serious cash to help Shannon save not only one bird, but an entire species.
However, it’s all good. After all, with a little from a lot of us we can make a difference for Shannon.
So save your pennies, give up a latte once a week, or take a sandwich for lunch periodically and give what you save. This may just stop an entire species from going extinct.
Helping is easy.
More about Shannon, her birds and how we’ve helped