New wings for World of Birds
A YEAR ago, it seemed almost certain that the World of Birds, which provides a haven to thousands of birds and animals, would close down.
But now, in what has been described as a “Christmas miracle”, the animal sanctuary has turned from the brink of bankruptcy to pay a third of its R1.3 million debt and to fly for yet another year.
The “miracle” was largely thanks to the generosity of Capetonians, and in particular a local artist who sold her studio and donated the money to the sanctuary, where at least 200 new furry and feathered friends – many of them injured or abandoned – are brought in by the public every month.
Hendrik Louw, park manager, said they hoped to pay the remainder of their loan before the end of the tourist season.
“It feels like a Christmas miracle to everyone at the park. Last year we were depressed and closing the park seemed all but certain. But thanks to the generosity of all Capetonians, and an especially touching sacrifice from our artistic benefactor, things have changed for the better dramatically. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’ve been given what feels like a second life and plan to make the most of it.”
The sanctuary – home to more than 200 species and 3 000 animals and birds – faced one of its grimmest times in its 38year history at the beginning of the year. Racked by mounting debt and a large drop in visitors, it had a monthly overhead of R500 000 and a R1.3m loan from the bank was quickly exhausted.
But media coverage, including an article in the Weekend Argus, renewed interest in the park. Hundreds of donations poured in and the sale of the artist’s studio helped to put the park on the road to recovery.
The artist, who wants to remain anonymous, said she was so touched by the Weekend Argus article and the care shown for the animals that she did what she could to help.
Many of the animals at the World of Birds are injured and abandoned and could not survive in the wild.
A large number are endangered species, such as the Cape vulture.
Walter Mangold, World of Birds owner, said if the animals could be given quality of life, they should be allowed to live – in contrast to one belief that animals must die if they cannot be cared for.
The park has asked the public to continue their support simply by buying tickets and enjoying a day with family and friends among the weird and wonderful creatures.
SAFE: Pelican chicks at World of Birds.