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​The annual Sasol Birds and Birding Fair promises plenty of activity and learning about raptors and conservation at the Johannesburg Zoo.
EXHIBITIONS and workshops are some of the options to be enjoyed at this year’s Sasol Birds and Birding Fair, which will be held at the Johannesburg Zoo on 26 and 27 May.

The African Fish-Eagle is the 2012 Sasol Birds and Birding Fair bird of the year (Photo: Warwick Tarboton)The African Fish-Eagle is the 2012 Sasol Birds and Birding Fair bird of the year (Photo: Warwick Tarboton)The fair aims to educate and inspire the public about conservation of birds, as well as create a love for nature. The two-day event is expected to attract thousands of birding and outdoor enthusiasts over the weekend.

It is held annually at the Joburg Zoo, and is a project initiated by Birdlife South Africa. It is sponsored by Sasol, the national fuel company, as well as the Africa Birds and Birding magazine.

Birdlife South Africa is an organisation promoting the enjoyment, conservation, study and understanding of wild birds and their habitats. The focus of the fair is birds of prey and this year it celebrates the iconic wetland bird, the African fish eagle.

It is said that the bird is an ideal ambassador for raptors. The African fish eagle is considered a vulnerable species in some countries because of its sparse population.

Richard Hughes, Sasol’s sponsorship manager, says South Africa has some of the most diverse bird breeds in the world. “We are excited to be involved in raising awareness of conservation issues, showcasing South Africa’s bird population and promoting birding as a past time, while at the same time, enticing South Africans to experience these feathered friends,” he adds.

There will be exhibitions on the Centenary Lawn, including of binoculars, camera equipment, bird books, bird feeders, indigenous plants and conservation organisations, such as the endangered Wildlife Trust, Johannesburg Zoo and Free Me Rehabilitation Centre. A children’s activity area will also be set up on the lawn.

Other activities that can be expected will include a full-day photography workshop, a bird of prey identification course, lectures on a variety of interesting topics relating to birds of prey, and animal contact sessions.

The zoo’s executive manager of marketing and education, Louise Gordon, says the Sasol Bird Fair is a unique opportunity to combine a fun family outing at the zoo with an opportunity to learn more about the birds that share our gardens and parks with us.

“We look forward to an exciting and busy weekend as the zoo will have more on offer than usual,” she says. For more information about the Sasol Birds and Birding Fair, contact Nikki McCartney on 083 636 1060, or email

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