A wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education, and eco-tourism center based at historic Spier Wine Farm.
Enjoy personal encounters &spectacular interactive flying shows.
Family-friendly fun for all. Eagle Encounters is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation, conservation, education, and eco-tourism center based at historic
Spier Wine Farm.
Eagle Encounters has a two-fold mission: Rehabilitation and Education.
We fund and fulfill this mission through responsible Eco-tourism.
How it all began…
Eagle Encounters was founded in 2001 by Hank and Tracy Chalmers. The land, generously donated by Spier Wine Farm, provides the perfect location for our rehabilitation, release, conservation, education and eco-tourism programmes. Eagle Encounters is a self-funded Non-Profit Organization.
Hank Chalmers met his first falcon when he was just five years old – his father was one of the first falconers in South Africa, trained by an American. By the time he was 8, Hank was in love with raptors (and a certain beautiful black eagle). Many years later, he and Tracy decided to become active players in the conservation arena and preserve South Africa’s raptors for their children and future generations. Hank is hands-on with the rescue, rehabilitation and the conservation programmes and Tracy left the corporate world to administrate and market Eagle Encounters.
Today the Chalmers’ home is filled with animals of all sorts, and their three children thrive in an environment where every animal (from porcupines to meerkats) and all raptors are welcome day and night.
Today Eagle Encounters is a much-loved center, visited again and again by families, schools, tertiary institutions and visitors from around the world.
A TripAdvisor winner for several years running, Eagle Encounters is proud of the Certificates of Excellence received in 2014 and 2015.
SCHOOL GROUP EDU-FUN
Learning institutions have become more actively involved in environmental education. As arguably the largest Raptor Rehabilitation and Education Centre in South Africa, Eagle Encounters believes that an awareness and appreciation for the environment should be nurtured from youth. The casual and personal manner in which we approach our education programme encourages children to ask questions about and interact directly with a variety of raptors.
During the course of our hands-on demonstration, the following topics will be briefly discussed:
• Species identification
• Comparison between appearance adaptations and natural habitat
• Breeding habits
• Rehabilitation & release
• Falconry, falconry techniques, and their benefits in rehabilitation
• What to do with an injured or abandoned raptor
• Design for function
• Food preference and hunting techniques
• Behavioral patterns
• Habitat destruction, poisons, and persecution vs organic farming methods & co-existence
• Basic conservation regulations regarding raptors
We have discovered that children retain considerably more information from a learning experience when it involves all of their senses. To facilitate this learning and cater to your specific requirements, we have two interactive and exciting package options.
Package 1: On-site Encounters
Scholars are brought to the Centre, where our experienced handlers take them on a brief tour, focusing on some of the more prominent species. Thereafter, scholars are directed into the flying area where handlers co-ordinate a dazzling performance with raptors, including kestrels, kites, owls and buzzards flying around and to them.
Take advantage of our playground equipment on-site, especially for the benefit of our younger visitors to vent excess energy.
Package 2: Travelling Encounters
We will visit your school with no less than 5 different raptor species, including Mick (our Black Eagle who is known for both his appearance on the TV documentary series ‘50/50′, as well as his Insig magazine cover-story photo shoot with Mark Shuttleworth).
During the course of the talk, the smaller birds will be flown around the room and to various scholars. Those who have paid attention and correctly answer 5 easy questions win the unique opportunity to hold Mick.
This option is an advantage for very large school groups or schools that may find it difficult to transport scholars to Eagle Encounters.
RESCUE AND REHABILITATION PROGRAMME
Eagle Encounters has an active rescue and rehabilitation focus and is on call 24/7 to rescue birds of prey from both urban and rural areas in and around Cape Town. We also receive birds that have been handed in at other animal centers throughout South Africa, as well as birds confiscated by Western Cape Nature Conservation.
When a bird or animal is admitted, it is first thoroughly examined to assess its overall condition. Severely injured or poisoned birds are immediately referred to one of our recognized veterinarians, who specialize in treating raptors. Less severe cases are initially quarantined and treated, then housed and trained for release on-site. Abandoned chicks are raised on a calcium-rich diet formula, with the aid of either foster parents or feeding puppets, in preparation for release.
All other wildlife is referred onward to specialists in each field.
The rehabilitation process
The full rehabilitation process for a raptor can take anything from 1 day to 4 years and incur costs of between R20 and R20 000, depending on the species, rarity and the injury/condition. Expenses per admission can include rescue, veterinary consultations, X-Rays, surgical procedures, laboratory tests, medication, dressings, treatments, autopsies, housing, furniture (perches, jesses, and hoods), specialized diet and the sometimes lengthy falconry training release programme.
Strategically partnering with Spier Wine Farm
Spier Wine Farm is a committed partner when it comes to rehabilitation and release of raptors. The farm’s strong eco-drive, including the practice of organic farming methods, provides an excellent environment for the release of the smaller raptor species. Many of the surrounding farms, from which we have obtained permission to hunt and release our birds, also practice organic farming methods.