Late in January, flamingo chicks from Kamfers Dam crept into the hearts of a nation when a lack of rain and failed infrastructure left the pan dry. Flamingo chicks were allegedly left abandoned by adults, resulting in a massive rescue effort to prevent further mortalities.
Where did the lesser flamingo chicks go?
Chicks were sent to various organisations which included uShaka Marine World, the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), the Mike Bolhuis Flamingo Project and the National Zoological Gardens.
The fate of the Kamfers Dam flamingo chicks
Nearly three months after the initial rescue operation, juvenile flamingos are slowly making their way back to Kimberley. Tania Anderson, ecologist and volunteer for BirdLife South Africa says every single bird is screened for diseases before they are returned. They have to be healthy with no disabilities; else they will easily fall prey to predators.
Approximately 130 flamingos were placed in the care of the Kimberley SPCA this past weekend and more are expected to arrive soon. Here they will spend two weeks in quarantine before their release. The quarantine period will allow youngsters to imprint on each other and be desensitised to humans.
Massive flamingo rescue mission
Anderson says 2000 chicks were rescued. “We don’t know the exact number that will be returned after losses in captivity and excluding non-releasable birds,” says Anderson.
Preventing future flamingo chick rescues
Ekapa Mining and Sol Plaatje Local Municipality joined forces to implement a comprehensive infrastructure restoration programme for the municipality’s Homevale Waste Water Treatment Plant to prevent the need for another rescue operation in the future. At present, Kamfers Dam is over 80% full and there is an abundant level of blue-green algae to support the flamingos.
Written by René de Klerk
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