Rooney the Secretary Bird was snatched from his nest as a chick, with the intention to be raised to adulthood and then killed for his body parts to be used in superstitious rituals. Thankfully the authorities could confiscate him before these cruel plans were brought to fruition and he now resides at the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre. Being imprinted on humans, Rooney wants nothing to do with other secretary birds and cannot be released back into the wild. If you are a sports lover Rooney’s name will quickly make sense to you when you see his powerful kicks (though he directs these to the head of a rubber-cobra rather than a football).
As a registered NGO receiving no government support, the Dullstroom Bird of Prey and Rehabilitation Centre relies heavily on donors, sponsors and the visiting public to fund their very important work. Their tiny staff compliment is responsible for the rehabilitation of between 80 and 200 birds of prey every year, all of them injured by or negatively impacted in another way by humans, and then releasing them back into the wild when they’ve recovered sufficiently. If you can’t visit them in person, please visit their website and, if you are able to, assist them in their efforts by making a donation (monetary or in kind).