World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park in Hout Bay File photo: INLSA
CAPE TOWN - Astral  Foods has pledged  R100 000 a month to support World of Birds.

The South African poultry producer announced yesterday that it plans to assist the World of Birds Sanctuary in Hout Bay, Africa’s largest bird park, with bird and animal premixes and feed, poultry by-products, eggs and improvements to the general infrastructure.

Chris Schutte, chief executive of Astral said that after reading about the financial crisis that the World of Birds found themselves in.

“Despite their well-publicised campaign on crowd-funding platform BackaBuddy and staff agreeing to take a pay cut in order to ease the financial strain, Astral’s management decided to become involved in an endeavour to assist the park,” said Schutte.

The outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (AI) in South Africa during last year’s winter resulted in the World of Birds having to be placed under quarantine after numerous of its bird species were tested positive and the public stayed away from Cape Town’s landmark and premier tourist attraction, perceiving AI as a threat which impacted revenue earnings from the daily entrance fees.

Gary Arnold, managing director of Astral’s agricultural division, said the company gained extensive experience in eradicating and managing avian influenza at its farming operations to mitigate the risk of the disease as far as possible.

“We will also assist with the re-drilling of one of the boreholes on the World of Birds’ property in order to reduce the monthly municipal water bill,” said Arnold.

The firm said R100 000 a  month would be made available to support the World of Birds with either goods or services in an endeavour to assist the park to continue to perform an important community service as a haven for sick and injured birds and small wildlife.