Video, audio and photos. Students depict birds in art and the community comes to learn about raptors as the African Raptor Centre opens it’s Educational Wing to the public.
It’s finally the big day! The grand opening of the African Raptor Centre’s educational wing (ARC formerly known as the African Bird of Prey Sanctuary.)
If you prefer to listen
Shannon runs this amazing place. ARC is home to birds of prey that for one reason or another can’t be released. Some like Orion the Long Crested Eagle was raised by humans so is imprinted. That means he’s lost all fear of humans and this is dangerous for a wild animal. Others like Alpha the Spotted Eagle Owl sustained injuries that never healed well enough for them to function effectively in a wild situation. This usually has to do with flying to catch their prey.
A few select birds are trained by Shannon to fly in mesmerizing, heart changing daily shows. Here students and adults, both local and from around the globe, come to be entertained and leave educated. All across the planet raptors, the lions of the skies, are declining due to habitat loss and poisoning. Did you know that when you poison a rat or a mouse it may kill an owl?
All the birds here, except for the Bearded vultures, call ARC their forever home. The Bearded Vultures, which are highly endangered in South Africa, are being bred for the wild. A project that involves harvesting the second egg (which is naturally lost), incubating it, raising the chick to sexual maturity (which takes seven years) and breeding the next generation to then be released back into the wild.
The newly opened Educational Wing is for outreach and awareness raising functions. It’s large enough to actually fly the ambassador birds inside on those wet rainy days. During the grand opening over 500 pieces of artwork from schools in the area are on display. Students were taught in their classrooms about the raptors and then invited to capture their favorite bird on paper.
Winners were of course chosen. One young man shares with the crowd how he knew nothing about vultures. He was touched by their plight and was now going to be a vulture advocate. The students of course brought their parents and teachers, so many are educated.
Probably the best part, after viewing all the artwork, the awards and getting ice cream, is stepping outside into the sanctuary. Here young and old tour the beautiful grounds of the sanctuary to visit the eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures in their enclosures. Because of us humans these birds are confined to a less than perfect life. Because of Shannon all who came to the grand opening of the Educational Wing know a bit more about these magnificent birds and what each of us can do to help protect them.
Helping is easy…