It has been some time since the 1500+ flamingo chicks were rescued from the Kamfersdam in Kimberley and now they are going strong and tall.
South Africa – In January of this year, thousands of flamingo chicks were rescued from the drought-stricken Kamfers Dam in Kimberley.
The flamingoes were rescued from the Kamfersdam in Kimberley where a colony of Lesser Flamingos breed annually. The dam has started to dry up leaving hundreds of young chicks in need of rescue. Thousands of chicks and unhatched eggs were collected and taken to the Kimberly SPCA where rehabilitation was started.
Thousands of chicks arrived at the SPCA, and the task of caring for them started, but because there were so many and the responsibility of caring for them is an “around the clock” process… the SPCA had to reach out to various organisations in South Africa for help!
With extensive bird knowledge, each organisation has been working hard to save as many chicks as possible. This is how they are doing now, just a few months later.
The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB).
The Table View-based organisation took in over 500 chicks back in January. Since then, the surviving chicks have thrived under the care of SANCCOB. On the 7th of March, the team celebrated one of their first chicks breaking past the 1kg mark. They now only have 94 flamingo chicks in their care.
The organisation still needs assistance with financial and physical donations.
“Feeding regimes have been adjusted over the last couple of weeks as they are feeding themselves more often and we are so proud to see them develop. Thank you for the continued support. At an average of R250 per chick per day for the next two months, we need all the help we can garner. They are growing tall & the new daytime enclosure on the premises is apt for their exercising. For more info & to donate to their care, please visit https://sanccob.co.za/.”
They also need volunteer scribes. This person sits with the person feeding the chicks and takes notes.
World of Birds – Hout Bay
The chicks were also sent to World of Birds in Hout Bay. On the 15th of February, the company announced that sadly they had lost healthy chicks for no known reason. So they made the choice to send the birds to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Facilities where they would all receive 24-hour veterinary care.
“This has been a very difficult time for all involved, physically and most of all emotionally. With one staff member committing all her time right from the start spending 24 hours a day with the chicks.
World of Birds will still be part of the project as much as we can and will definitely be involved in the release of chicks from other families once this becomes a reality.
We would like to thank the public for their support throughout this project. We are in communication with SANCOB and will transfer remaining donations that are still needed by them.” – World of Birds
We spoke to the SPCA and they confirmed the chicks are thriving. They have been working on building pens for the birds to reduce the amount of contact they have with humans. Their first pen has already been completed and now they are working on the second one.
“The chicks at our facility are doing fantastic. The large chicks are feeding on their own and the younger ones are still being fed by means of syringes. The larger chicks appear pink, but this is due to the red/pink flamingo food they currently consume. The most important part of this process is yet to come, where we have to get the chicks into the new pen that would minimize their exposure to humans and see them forming a creche like they would do in their natural environment.”
Kimberly SPCA has started training sessions to prepare if something like this happens again. They no longer host public feedings but have a group of veterinarians and veterinarian nurses who work to feed the chicks. The feedings are open to the public to view.
If a member of the public wishes to take part, they need to attend the training sessions at the Kimberly Veterinary Clinic.
“The aim of the sessions will be to provide the necessary knowledge to the volunteers to help them in dealing with another such crisis should it re-occur in the future.
The aim will also be to provide the necessary knowledge to deal with the 1000+ chicks already rescued if it is decided to release them at Kamfers dam as they will then have to be rehabilitated in Kimberley before release.”
Lory Park Animal and Owl Sanctuary
The Johannesburg-based flamingos have also been doing very well. Lory Park celebrated how much they have grown since they arrived but as they grow, so do their appetites.
“The flamingos are still growing. Our healthy babies spent their first night in their big enclosure last night [22nd February] (they still had their heaters on). It was a big moment for them and they were quite nervous in the beginning but they have started to settle down well.
Your assistance with volunteering your time or donating has been amazing! We are so grateful for all the support. As the flamingos grow so do their food news, we are in need of some of the following quite urgently:
Sardines – fresh or frozen
Shrimp – fresh or frozen
So far, that is all the information we have gathered about the chicks. As soon as we get more, we will let you know so stay tuned!