#WorldEnvironmentDay, also known as WED, is held on 5th June annually and is, globally, one of the most celebrated days for positive action. This years theme was “connecting people to nature“, which was chosen by Canada, 2017’s host country, encouraging everyone to appreciate the environment around us. The WED Organisation asked the world to “go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too.”
When I phoned my enviro-caring sister to remind her to somehow ‘celebrate’ this day, she replied “We should be celebrating our earth everyday! But, everyday is environment day for me – I’m a biology student. That’s my life.”
Having lived in Cape Town most of our adult lives, Gustav and I are shocked to still be doing things for the first time together. The day before WED, we had a spare day to fill with activities and decided to head out to Hout Bay and explore The World Of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park to admire some protected species. I’m pretty sure that’s what heaven looks like – being surrounded by birds of paradise and beautiful songs being chirped away in the sunshine. My whole life, I have been taught to appreciate birds, and walk into a garden of exotic colourful birds was very special for me. We spent our entire day wondering the maze of the sanctuary, admiring all the beautiful, endangered creatures we’d never seen before, and picking our favourites. One of mine had to be the Scarlet Ibis, which is the national bird of Trinidad and Tobago, and another had to be the Golden/Chinese Pheasant with it’s incredible decorative coat!
I’ve read some mixed reviews about the state of the enclosures and how the animals are kept out of their comfort zones and natural habitats, but the birds were in beautiful condition. My only concern being there was the one Lima was separated from the rest of them (which may be for a very good reason) and the Honey-Badger looked a little bothered (but there was a sign explaining how he requires human contact). Don’t get me wrong, I’m no conservationist, nor am I an animal behaviorist, but the sanctuary looks like they care for each of their animals and work hard to give them a good life.
I think a highlight of our visit was just before we left, we may have been the last people to leave the sanctuary that day, we walked passed a restricted ‘staff only’ area. Down a short path, a bird moving fairly quickly caught my eye. Although our view hinder by a gated covered by shade cloth – we peaked on. Through the gap, we watched one of the ‘games’ keepers doing a (what turns out to be something like a courtship) dance with a African Grey Crowned Crane. What a special thing to see!
Just some tips for when visiting the Sanctuary:
Take a jacket with, it gets a bit nippy in the shade | In the monkey pen, don’t touch the monkeys – they will come to you if they feel comfortable, but don’t raise you hand to them, and don’t try pet them | Keep your fingers to yourself! Don’t put your fingers into cages or over the bars (especially near the Parrots and Rheas) | Be respectful of the venue – don’t litter and don’t disturb the animals homes | Keep your voices down while walking around as not to frighten or disturb the animals, or the other visitors | The parrots will interact with you if you talk to them, so greet them and tell them they are pretty birds | Take only photographs, leave only footprints
Follow The World Of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park on social: Facebook. You can find the venue at Valley Road in Hout Bay. For more information, call them on 021 790 2730 or email email@example.com. The park is open from 9am – 5pm daily, every day of the year. Tickets can be purchased at the door for R90 per adult, R65 for pensioners & students (who have their cards) and R45 for a child. To become a member, or to find out how you can support this amazing please, click here.