Friday, 31 May 2013




BirdsConTour supports conservation of the ostrich, the Bird Of The Year 2013

Photos and text by Stefan Rust

(In terms of the Geneva Convention the copyright of these texts belongs to Stefan Rust)

Omandumba is a protected farm belonging to Harald and Deike Rust. One of their goals is to reinstate the original biodiversity of the farm to offer their guests a broader spectrum of wildlife experience.

Since most game species roam freely on the farm, ostriches were absent for more than forty years. It had become apparent that the only way to get ostriches back onto their land would be through reintroduction. After quite some time of patience, Harald and Deike received two ostrich chicks, an accident separated them from their mother not too far away, and the reintroduction project kicked off, following a secure step by step method. For the first weeks they were kept in a smaller enclosure until they were becoming more stable. Thereafter the healthy chicks were allowed to move into a bigger but still safe kraal to be able to better sense the surrounding and to get customized with the smell, sound and landscape of their future environment. Now, about six months of successful care, they were released into a big paddock in nature next to the house and of such a size that Harald, Deike and their staff are having them in sight to monitor their well-being. Only a small portion of food is offered to encourage these non-flying birds to walk and search their own food in the wild.
The Rust family even took the initiative to remove almost all fences inside their farmland to give the wildlife free roaming access. Fences are often reason why ostriches are not surviving. When chased by enemies they get entangled in the fences and are easy prey for predators, whereas if the ostrich has the space to run, he can outrun a cheetah, given the case that the ostrich recognized the hunter in time.

Harald and Deike have displayed exceptional commitment to the conservation of Namibia’s bird of the year 2013, the common ostrich, and were recognized by BirdsConTour (Bird Conservation and Tourism) with a two bird rated Bird & Birder Friendly Award.

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