This is a picture of a child who desperately wanted a bird of prey to land on his hand. To be honest, I would have loved to have the experience too. But, you know what? It’s not just about what I want. The day an animal can give me permission to touch it, is the day I will do so. #HandsOffOurWildlife
Sure, I’ve fallen into the “rescue and rehabilitation” trap before and thought it was fine to touch a cheetah. But I didn’t know any better then. I do now. There is a dark side too many of these “touch encounter” places. Ask yourself the question, what happens to these cubs when they are no longer cute? Do you want to know the answer? How does a “rehabilitation centre” have access to cubs throughout the year? What have the done to the mom? Why is that cheetah lying so still while you pet it? Has it been sedated?
Not all of these place practice unethical behavior but lots of them do. Do you feel comfortable asking the questions before you buy your ticket? Why is it that circuses with animals raise all kinds of outcry but there are so many pictures of people “walking with lions”.
Radical Raptors near Plettenberg Bay are some of the good guys. They rescue and rehabilitate birds who are sick, injured or abandoned. Some of these birds are used to educate young and old on the role of birds of prey and how we can help.
For example, owls are dying after eating poisoned mice and rats that we have set traps for. You see, the standard rat poison we buy at the supermarket doesn’t act fast. In fact, once the rodent has ingested it, it will leave the house to look for water. This is when it gets caught by a bird of prey, who ingests the same poison, with often fatal consequences.
I interrogated the lovely owners of Radical Raptors and they assured me that they don’t breed for shows, they never remove eggs from nests and they do everything they can to get the birds back to the wild. They have released many, many birds over the years and, the ones they have at the centre are mainly birds that were hand reared and who don’t know how to hunt.
This one, for example doesn’t believe be is a bird and sees other humans as a threat to his source of food. He chirped and chatted all the way through his segment of the educational.
A photo posted by Tami, Anton and the Zs (@tazzdiscovers) on
If you’d like to find out more about these majestic creatures, I suggest to visit them on your way to Plettenberg Bay. They do daily flying displays at 11am, 1pm and 3pm most days of the week. They are usually closed on a Monday, but they make an exception when the Monday happens to be a public or school holiday. Tickets are R120 per adult and R100 for seniours and students. Tickets for kids aged 3-12 cost R90 while under 3s get in for free.