Birds Of Eden Celebrates Fifa 2010

11th June 2010

After the conceptualisation of the idea, Lara handed the practical implementation of finding and releasing the birds over to the curator, Lee Dekker. Now, anyone would think that finding upwards of 200 birds across nearly 30 species a difficult job, but with all the other restrictions Lee had to deal with, it is easy to see why this was a mammoth task.
Birds had to be found to represent 32 countries. At the same time, the birds released could not interfere with the delicate balance of nature within the Birds of Eden Aviary. So, the Golden Eagle, the national bird of the United States is a predator, would not go down too well; nor would other highly territorial species.
Each species has its own niche in the habitat of the park, and many of these niches are already more than adequately stocked. Then, as Birds of Eden do not want to perpetuate any type of trade in birds, they had to look for birds that could be released into the park as part of a rehabilitation process. And Lee was determined not to compromise on these guidelines. She started working on putting it all together in January, this year, and just met the deadline by 27th April.
The philosophy of Birds of Eden is to help birds to be the best they can be, depending on their previous circumstances.
Once located, the birds had to undergo a period of quarantine, de-worming, and for those that had been kept in small cages, chest muscle exercises to make them fit enough for free flight.  In addition, the birds must learn to socialize if they have previously been kept in isolation. So, walking around Birds of Eden, the birds that want to sit on your shoulder were most probably ex-pets and used to human interaction.
Most countries were sponsored by local organizations who brought groups of often underprivedged children to participate in the spirit of the World Cup and then to enjoy a day at Birds of Eden and Monkeyland. Paraguay, Chile and Argentina were the opening countries and Black-necked Aracaris, Green Aracaris, Inca Jays and White-tailed Jays were released by Dianna Martin of Bitou Tourism.
Soon to follow was Germany, Japan, North Korea and South Korea. Fushi sponsored this release with a delicious lunch for the Media, complemented with our own local wines from Bramon Wine Estates.
For Ghana, Nigeria, Algeria, Côte D’Ivoire and Cameroon, the Sterreweg Children (children with disabilities) were sponsored by the Orca foundation  and the Sabrina Love foundation. These kids had a great time, and really got into the festivities.
The UK was sponsored by Plett Villas and the Aids Awareness Foundation of Plett who sang the National Anthem, God Save the Queen – the “Queen” was also in attendance!
Italy, Portugal, Spain and Denmark were sponsored by Starling Backpackers, who brought a group of youngsters from the New Life Ministries in Kolweni.  They also sponsored a local opera singer, Claud Schmidt, who sang for all of us to enjoy.
Switzerland was sponsored by by Zelna Luiters & Daniela Poggi – Mr Poggi was Swiss born, but has been living in Plett for 6 years. He sponsors the Local Soup Kitchen called House of Hope. France was supported by the French students who are working at Bitou Tourism for the duration of 2010, who together with Dianna Martin gave a most enthusiastic rendition of the La Marseillaise. 

Budget Car Rental sponsored children from the Khanyisa School for the Visually Impaired, and drove them  all the way from Port Elizabeth to support Greece and enjoy a great day out.
Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia had birds released by Dianna Martin, and Australia, sponsored by SKAL International, brought a group of orphaned children from George to enjoy the birds and monkeys.
The Plett Field Band, led by their enthusiastic Musical Director, Xolani Qoma, ended off a beautiful day. The band was perfect; the participation of the children in the band helps to keep them occupied and free from crime. Xolani hopes to start a jazz band soon with the more advanced kids, and we look forward to hearing them.
Everyone really enjoyed the day, and we wish to thank Lara and Lee of Birds of Eden for putting  together an event that celebrates freedom; of the birds, of our wonderful country that looks forward to hosting the FIFA Soccer World Cup, and of our community that put in their all – 2010 Showme