As one of Tsogo Sun’s deluxe hotels to have achieved the coveted Gold Status Certification from the Heritage Environmental Management Company during the 2011 audit, the Sandton Sun is a pioneer in hotel ‘greening’. Through their partnership with the Owl Rescue Centre, the Sandton Sun management team has yet again proven that they give a hoot by contributing to the longevity of the natural owl population in the greater Sandton area.

In March this year, the Owl Rescue Centre installed a Hacking Aviary on the roof of the Sandton Sun with the purpose of reintroducing rehabilitated owls that originated from the Sandton area back into their natural habitat through a ‘soft release’ process.

Teaching them to hunt

The Owl Rescue Centre, situated in Broederstroom close to Hartebeespoortdam, places owls in the final stages of rehabilitation in the Hacking Aviary for a period of approximately six weeks to assist them in becoming re-accustomed to the area as well as teaching them how to hunt. Through this process, the owls are weaned off the support of the aviary and encouraged to find their own habitat. The nocturnal predators are closely monitored by the Owl Rescue Centre to ensure that they are indeed ready to survive in the wild after which the aviary is opened and the owls are released. The roof of the Sandton Sun is home to a number of additional owl boxes outside the Hacking Aviary ensuring that once the owls are released they are able to go back to the aviary should they struggle to find their own prey.

“We are very excited to be associated with the Owl Rescue Centre. Not only because we share their philosophy of minimal human interference to natural means but also because we have the opportunity to make a real contribution to maintaining the natural ecosystems of the predominantly urbanised Sandton area, thereby keeping with our extensive efforts to remain environmentally responsible,” says Peter Davidson, general manager at the Sandton Sun.

Visitors can view owls on TV

Due to the generous donations received from hotel suppliers, Specialised Video Solution, Celestia AV and MIT, guests of the Sandton Sun who share the hotel’s green consciousness will be able to view the owls on the hotel’s internal television channels. Through the strategically placed cameras inside the aviary, interested visitors gain valuable insight into these often misunderstood creatures.

“We hope, through increased understanding of the owl’s true character, the fears and misgivings that often surround peoples’ perceptions of owls will be replaced by tolerance and respect for these unique birds. The Sandton Sun is helping us to achieve this simply by recognising that owls share our natural habitat and therefore belong among us, as well as supporting the owls’ full rehabilitation process,” adds Danelle Murray of the Owl Rescue Centre.