After almost 5 months of rehabilitation, another batch of healthy Flamingos have taken flight!
Kimberley, South Africa – The official release of 59 Lesser Flamingo-juveniles, took place on Tuesday 28 May 2019.
Mr Mike Bolhuis, who initiated the rescue project on 24 January 2019, was accompanied by Linja Allen from Saam-Staan Kimberley, Dr. Donovan Smith – veterinarian, officials from the Department of Nature Conservation and Environmental Affairs, local and international volunteers, Herbert Booth, who is the owner of the property, and Brian Culver, amateur nature conservationist- and photographer. The historic day will be part of the Bolhuis-series, and the Provoco-filming crew joined the group at the dam.
“It was an emotional scene and breath-taking event, when the birds reached the clay border around the dam, spread their wings and took flight for the very first time.”
Two smaller releases took place earlier in preparation for the third release of the 28th. As mentioned before, the initial trial release was on 8 May 2019, and the second release was on Monday, 27 May 2019. Some operational issues had to be dealt with according to Dr Smith, as each release requires an immense amount of work and planning, which results in a few very anxious and distressing weeks.
In total, 170 Flamingos have been released, with only two of the youngsters deciding not to venture out in the wild just yet. He continues that flamingos are very fragile birds which require a lot of care, and for them to integrate without any hesitation and to such an effective level with their wild counterparts, is a major triumph and a success story in its own right.
There are over four hundred Flamingos that need to be released soon but are being held, owing to poor plumage condition. Unfortunately, the diet that was created to mimic the nutrients the Flamingos’ need to thrive is causing a few side effects on their ability to develop and maintain proper plumage. The birds need to be waterproof to survive in their natural environment. Also, Kimberley is entering winter, making it more important than ever to have healthy plumage to regulate body temperature.
Mr Booth, the owner of the property, and the remaining volunteers will continue to monitor the surrounding area and ensure that the birds are safe. It is a relief that the whole project will not end with the release of the birds but will continue through observation, to allow for the study and the preservation of the birds and their habitat. The process will be managed by the Sol Plaatjies University and BCRE, Nelson Mandela University as well as Onderstepoort, as noted in our previous project.
“This is extremely important while the municipal sewerage facility is upgraded to facilitate a sustainable source of water, for the survival of the Flamingos. There are other responsible parties involved too, such as Ekapa-mine, which is part of the long-term project and also responsible for the integrity of the water and the eco-system surrounding the dam.
This rescue and eventual release were possible because of the involvement of many, many volunteers, big corporations, small business’, qualified individuals and caring families. We are truly grateful to every single person involved for their loyalty and commitment.
It is important for me to reiterate that the highest praise must go to our Almighty God. It is only by His grace that we are fortunate enough, to have been part of this amazing journey.”
Check out some of the incredible photos below, and to assist with the rescue in any way please contact the Flamingo team: Mike Bolhuis (082 447 6116); Linja Allen (072 011 2335) and Donovan Smith (082 561 4760).