Over 260 000 children and their parents have participated in the programme. 

The Owl Naming Programme 

In most of the 11 official languages in South Africa, all owl species are described with one name. For example, the Pedi name for any type of owl is Lerubise while the Zulu name for any owl is isiKhova. The owl naming project is a national learner led initiative to provide suitable names specific to each owl species within South Africa. Learners from different schools, cultures and languages have chosen names for our 12 owl species in their native tongue.  In time, we hope that these names will become the names with which specific owls are described by children and adults across the country. 

Below is the name given to the Pearl Spotted Owl in SeSotho/Sepedi : Sephookonyana


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A wonderful Christmas video from our owl ambassadors. was founded almost 20 years ago with the purpose of introducing young black South African children to the wonderful world of owls, their beauty as well as their enormous potential as partners in the control and management of rats within the often rodent infested and impoverished communities in which they live. In order to achieve this, it was essential to demystify the negative stigma attached to owls in Southern Africa.

20 years on, 260 000 children and their parents have participated in the programme. A simple question to many urban South African child regarding owls will be met with the instantaneous answer, "they eat rats''.  Many informal settlement schools now enjoy occupied owl boxes of their own and participate in owl pellet dissection programmes that contribute greatly to owl/prey data analysis. The programme has been presented at 2 world owl conferences and was awarded the Birdlife Africa Award for Conservation as well as an award from the International Owl Centre in Houston, Minnesota. is now underway with the continuation of this programme into other parts of South Africa as well as into our neighbouring African countries. The cornerstone of this programme is educational, although social and economic consideration is vital for the programme's success. In Africa, with its kaleidoscope of problems, from poverty, corruption, political and social unrest, the maxim "Without education there can be no conservation" could not be more true. 

There are so many challenges facing the youth in our country that the idea of donating to an owl programme in townships may seem frivolous. There are big issues that donor funds are required to tackle - health, education, food security, safety and more. Although rodents in townships impact on food security, affect health and the programme is highly educational, a discussion with a headmaster at one of our participating schools was particularly insightful.

" raises the standard of living for kids in these areas in 2 ways", he said, "It teaches them to nurture, they learn to look after the owls in their care, something not generally experienced by township children, secondly, it teaches them awe and amazement for the world in which they live and the creatures with whom they share that world".

Thank you for your part in teaching our children awe and amazement for their natural resources. We firmly believe that without education, Africa cannot embrace conservation.


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