Image supplied

Young activist pledges ninth birthday to support bird sanctuary

Eight-year-old Romario Valentine has dreams of one day becoming a scientist to better understand and protect our natural environment.


Image supplied

Proving that you’re never too young to stand up for what you believe in, Romario has been an active ocean warrior for the past two years, cleaning up his local beach once a week and raising awareness around the dangers of pollution.

Through his frequent visits to the Umgeni River Bird Park, in Durban North, a 3.5-hectare reserve which is home to over 800 birds from 200 species, Romario developed a passion for birds and for protecting endangered species. 

Romario’s passion for birds

As a keen artist, Romario is often seen drawing his favourite birds.

“I enjoy going to Umgeni River Bird Park because I love to see the amazing birds, watch the bird show and feed the birds. There is also a beautiful waterfall,” the eight-year-old said.

Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy

Upon learning that the Umgeni River Bird Park was under strain due to the recent pandemic, Romario asked his mum, Delsha Moodley, if she could help him set up a fundraiser to support the reserve. It is temporarily closed as it is unable to run at this time.

In lieu of gifts for his birthday on the 26 July, Romario has set up a campaign on donations-based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy. He is hoping to raise R15,000 to support the Umgeni River Bird Park’s “Inspire to Conserve” programme to protect endangered birds.

“I couldn’t go to the bird park for my birthday this year because of the lockdown. I asked my mother to help me raise money for the conservation programme instead of getting birthday presents. I do not want them to become extinct,” said Romario.

Romario’s parents, Delsha Moodley and Clive Valentine, couldn’t be more proud of their son for taking the initiative to protect the Umgeni reserve for future generations.

“We are honoured to have a benevolent, visionary son like Romario, who loves nature and the environment at such a young age. He is a creative, sporty and vibrant child and we will continue to support him in all his endeavours,” says Delsha Moodley.

With his campaign, Romario hopes to encourage other youngsters like him to get involved and save our planet.

“It is important to preserve ocean life and birds so that they don’t become extinct. Only we can look after them and we need oxygen from trees to live. It is important for children to get involved with conservation to learn how to look after nature for our future,” says Romario.

Support Romario’s campaign on BackaBuddy by making a donation here:

Watch Romario’s video appeal