More troubles for sanctuary

2018-12-18 06:01

Just seven months after making a public appeal for support to cover its costs (“Sale to save sanctuary,” People’s Post, 29 May) World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary lost thousands in the blink of an eye on Sunday 9 December.

They were allegedly robbed of an amount of R70 000 by two unknown men in the afternoon. The robbers reportedly gained access to the premises by posing as normal visitors at the pay gate.

Reports have it that the incident happened shortly after the owner, Walter Mangold, had returned from collecting the money from the café. It is said that he was attacked and tied up during the robbery and he was heard by a tourist who then called for help.

According to Hendrik Louw, manager of the World of Birds sanctuary, the suspects could be seen on the CCTV cameras entering at around 15:00 and leaving the crime scene a little later.

“Right now, I think we need to trust in our security and police services to assist in finding the culprits. We have video footage of the suspects entering the park by paying entrance fees and posing as visitors. We have 15 cameras throughout the park with the most concentrated at the entrance area. Six of these cameras are monitored 24/7. This is the first time in our 45 years that something like this has happened.”

Louw says losing the money hit them very hard as they have been struggling to raise funds throughout the year. The sanctuary owes the bank R800 000 and they made a public appeal in May. They announced then that 45 jobs were at risk and they would sell a portion of their land to raise funds.

“As most people are aware, we still owe the bank well over R800 000 at this moment. Weekly takings at this time of year increase and we hope to repay the bank loan with this money. Losing this was a shock to us; however we have managed to get a substantial amount in donations through Backabuddy. It has been an overwhelming response of support. We can merely thank all supporters from the bottom of our hearts. We are truly overwhelmed by the kindness and support. We have had many friends pop in over the last two days to just touch base and give a few words of support. This campaign has been running since May 2018 with the hope of reaching R500 000 by the end of year.”

Zane Groenewald, BackaBuddy public relations officer, says since the robbery at World of Birds, over R79 123 has been “crowdfunded” on BackaBuddy with contributions from 139 donors.

Hout Bay police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, says a case of business robbery has been opened at the station. She confirms that the incident happened at 16:15.

“Two unknown suspects entered World of Birds and demanded the safe keys. The owner was tied up. No injuries were sustained. No arrests have been made yet. A case of business robbery was opened. Anyone with information must please contact Hout Bay police,” Lesch says.V Visit: https://bit.ly/2C6xib8 to lend support.

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