October 29, 2010
African Dawn serves as a rescue and rehabilitation center for many kinds of local wildlife. About 90% of the animals at the sanctuary are local birds or antelope that have been found wounded or have been causing a menace to locals and would be killed if the sanctuary did not remove them. About a month before I arrived there had been a big fight between a local man in Jeffrey’s Bay and local environmental organizations. The man had tall trees in front of his house, which were home to a flock of egrets. The man was frustrated with the noise they made and the bird poop constantly falling on his cars and home. He ended up cutting down all the trees killing or injuring a good number of the birds and dislocating the rest. African Dawn came in and rescued all of the birds and brought them back to the sanctuary. The birds found a happy home at African Dawn and during my first week there a group of the birds were deemed strong enough to be released. The owner and volunteer coordinator wrangled them into a transport box and then we drove out far into the game drive and released the birds. It was amazing to see the beautiful snow-white birds flying above us knowing that they had just escaped a brush with death a month earlier. Watching the beautiful birds soar against the blue sky was representative of the majesty and greatness involved in saving an animal on the brink and releasing it again to freedom. The story of the release even made the local newspaper with one of my photographs in it.
P.S. Although they don’t celebrate it over here HAPPY HALLOWEEN to everyone back home!