It is not about the money but the message – and that message is simple for Wildline founder Arnold Slabbert.
“People can help prevent owl and wildlife deaths by laying rat traps to get rid of rodents instead of poisons or pesticides,” he said.
Slabbert, founder of Wildline and also Urban Raptor, has been working with raptors and wildlife animals for more than 30 years.
He released a video of a dying barn owl that went viral and gained international attention from a European broadcaster.
Slabbert said the problem could be eradicated if people were not ignorant about the knock-on effects of poison.
“It is easier to just throw down some poison than it is to clean up our surroundings, people are just plain lazy and the wildlife suffers as a result.”
The bird, like numerous others in the Bay that died after consuming a poisoned rat, had helped raise awareness around the careless deaths of owls, he said.
“I got a phone call on Sunday about an owl in someone’s backyard and when I got there, the owl was dying. “I could see it straight away that the owl had been poisoned.
“I see so many of these poison cases and I thought the video and a message would make people think before they put out the poison,” he said. Slabbert posted the video on various social media platforms.
It has received more than seven million views from across the world.
“One of the international marketing companies that handles videos for a whole lot of corporations, phoned me wanting to get the rights to the video and I then said no.
“I didn’t want anyone to have the right to the video. I posted the video to get the message out there that if you are going to use this type of stuff [poisons] it has a knock-on effect on the wildlife and a lot of innocent creatures suffer.
“I was actually quite shocked that they contacted me because I wanted to create local awareness, so I made sure the story was well-published locally, I didn’t intend for it to cross the planet.”
He said that in about 99.9% of the cases they worked with, the cause of death could be linked to poisoning.
During summer, he attends to between 10 and 20 cases a month in the city. He said the majority of the birds would hide under a bush and their bodies were never found.
“Effective waste management is the answer to this problem. When you have a rodent problem, it is a failure in sanitation and a failure in house- keeping,” he said.
“And this video shows that right around the world there are organisations fighting the cause for pesticides not to be used. It is horrific what is being done with poison and how many creatures suffer because of this. The problem is not just a local one, it is countrywide and it is worldwide.”