2021 SA CT Its a Birds Life
It’s a Bird’s Life
It’s also a labour of love for Walter Mengold and his loyal team to look after not only birds but monkeys, lemurs, servals cats and guinea pigs and it would be uncharacteristic of his ethos to turn away any sick or injured animal brought in on a daily basis since 1973. The park has run more on determination and a respect for bird and animal life than from the meagre income it makes.
There are now over 40 staff gently raking the enclosures, cleaning out the water gulleys and pools, feeding these beautiful creatures who cannot be returned to the wild because of their injuries but instead live a safe and protected life, judging by their lack of fear of humans and the many that breed happily and raise young in their microcosm of the natural world.
We visitors are also cared for with tasty refreshments in the café, a charming enchanted wood and play area for the children and clean red brick paths weaving through the enclosures, so we were actually in with the tame wildlife.
At one point a young ranger asked if we’d like to help feed the black capped squirrel monkeys, so five of us sat down on a small area of artificial grass and had the experience of gentle soft little monkeys running over our laps to pick up the dry food tossed by the ranger around us. Our only instruction was don’t touch the little creatures as they can quickly become agitated. I have always had a small fear of having monkeys running over me as I know they can become aggressive but these were so tiny, with soft cool hands and a light brief touch they posed no threat at all and were a delight to be with. One had twins clinging on to her.
Surprises for us were the beautiful serval cat pair and the rock hyrax which, although common in the mountainous region, had proved elusive to us.
The sanctuary is a delight and a good place for all ages of humans to learn about these amazing creatures who if not for the care of the humans who bring them in and the staff that tend their every need, would have lived unnecessarily short lives.