Two men robbed the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park in Hout Bay on Sunday, taking R70 000 in cash after overpowering the owner, Walter Mangold (81). This is a further blow to its struggling financial situation.
The 45-year-old World of Birds has faced possible closure due to economic turn down, prompting it to plead for donated funds in order to maintain the sanctuary, which houses 3 000 species of birds, mammals and reptiles.
A social media post shared by the sanctuary revealed that the owner was tied up during the robbery.
“Owner Walter Mangold (in his 80s) was overcome by robbers and tied up face-down. After searching him for safe keys the robbers made off with the weekend takings,” the post reads.
It continues, “Not what [was] needed when every cent made is to secure the future of the park and repay the current bank overdraft,”
Mangold told News24 that World of Birds is still in debt and the additional loss of cash has left the sanctuary shaken.
“We still owe R850 000 from last year that we couldn’t pay and the money now that was stolen yesterday (Sunday) was R70 000 in cash,” he said.
The owner went on to speak about the robbery, implying it may have been an inside job.
“It was so unexpected and happened so quickly. They knew exactly where to go and so, to some extent, it is inside information,” he said.
Two assailants entered the sanctuary at the time of closing, just after 4pm.
The assailants knocked Mangold down and demanded the keys to the safe. After finding the safe keys in his pocket, they tied him up with cables found in the office and stole the cash out of the safe.
“They tied me up badly and it was very painful. I called on Jesus Christ. When they left, I was on my face and struggled to get on my back. I inched myself towards the door and shouted: ‘Help, help, help!'”
His cries were heard and five tourists came to untie him.
The sanctuary is urging the public to donate towards its Back a Buddy Campaign and has only raised R178 000 towards its R500 000 fundraising target.
Mangold told News24 he is very grateful for the donations made by the public.
“We need all the support we can get so we can keep the employment of our staff members, look after our birds and carry on into next year,” he said.
A case of business robbery has been opened by the South African Police Services. Warrant Officer Joseph Swartboi said that the suspects fled the scene with the cash.
Swartbooi explained investigations are currently underway.
“Circumstances surrounding an incident yesterday (Sunday…) at about 4.15pm at World of Birds Animal Sanctuary in Hout Bay are under investigation,” he said.
No arrests have been made at this stage.
Anyone with information surrounding the incident or on the suspects is kindly requested to call Hout Bay SAPS 021 791 8660 or alternatively Crime stop on 08600 10111.
Picture: The World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park/ Facebook