Lory Park animal and Owl sanctuary is little haven one would not expect to find in the hustle and bustle between Johannesburg and Pretoria. Situtated in Midrand., it is a what many people like to call a boutique zoo, a place where animals can be appreciated up close, where human and animal interaction is welcomed, creating a personal and peaceful atmosphere.
It all started in the small town of Beaufort west in the Northern Cape where Edward Philippus Van Eck was born. Born as a first child into a family of animal lovers and a father who was an ardent and very successful pigeon racer, it was only natural that Eddy would grow up with a strong affinity for nature and animals. Eddy spent his youth mostly collecting pet creatures and cacti.
After finishing school in Beaufort West Eddy decided to move to Johannesburg, and from here it was his interest and being the leader of Cacti collections and competitive displays, that lead him to many travels overseas. Having a keen interest in, and a large collection of Parrots it also meant visiting zoos, sanctuaries and parks in many places of the world. It was there that Eddy found his inspiration to create a bird park in South Africa that would be similar to those in Europe like for instance Loro Parque in Tenerife. Eddy took the huge leap of retiring from his then successful construction company, Epeck Construction and taking on the new venture of creating a beautiful bird park in Midrand, which would have one of the largest collections of Parrots in the Southern Africa, it was also important for him to establish a sanctuary that would serve as a peaceful haven for the community, an educational environment for children and a breeding facility for endangered species.
Lory Park Animal and Owl Sancturay After two years of hard work and dedication Lory Park was ready to open its gates in April 2000. The new little haven never came without its hardships, and it took some months before the name Lory Park was known and respected. Thirteen years ago Midrand was still reasonably unspoilt and consisted of much grassland which was still inhabited by animals such as Grass owls , Marsh owls, Barn owls and Spotted Eagle owls as well as mammals such as Duiker, Caracals, Mongoose, Jackals, hedgehogs and many more. It was from here on that Midrand started exploding into one of the fastest growing industrial and corporate areas in South Africa, unfortunately with this came more roads, buildings and a need for housing and development, and this in turn had a very negative effect on the fauna and flora and of course the wildlife. It was then that many people started bringing injured and trapped animals to Lory Park, and often the case being where Eddy would also have to go and collect potentially dangerous animals such as snakes, who previously lived unnoticed and were now deemed vermin due to human encroachment. Some of these animals were releasable in safe areas, but most were severely injured due to cars, electric fences, human aggression, and electricity lines, and could never be released. They were the animals that needed a safe haven where they could live out their lives in peace with love and care, and this is where Lory Park soon started becoming a sanctuary to all, and not only a bird park.
It was at this point that Eddy realized the need for expansion and a greater contribution to educating the community on conservation. During these efforts, Eddy also built a good rapport with nature conservation, as well as various welfare organisations and thus was asked to home many confiscated and abused animals. From there on Lory park is where it is today, an internationally acclaimed zoo which has established a successful co ordinance of animal care, education and community recreation with the highest standards. Through his passion and love, for animals and nature Eddy has created a beautiful haven in the middle of the concrete jungle for animals and humans to share, a place where human and animal souls may meet and go into the future together.