The Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation shared their excitement after seeing rescued flamingos finally released back into the wild after months of rehabilitation.
Kimberley, South Africa – The Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation played an integral part in the rehabilitation of some of the flamingo eggs and chicks rescued from the Kamfers Dam in Kimberley earlier this year.
Recently they got the chance to celebrate the release of those chicks. The foundation took to Facebook to share the story of how the flamingo chicks were rescued and their journey over the last few months before being sent home for release.
They even shared a heartwarming video of the release process, which you can watch at the end of this story. This is their story:
‘At Wild Heart Wildlife Foundation, we believe that Freedom is the ultimate gift for any wild animal. We are very excited at bringing you news from #PinkFlamingoRescueProject. Many of you will remember that at the end of January 2019, thousands of Lesser Flamingo Chicks were abandoned at their nests at Kamfers Dam in Kimberley. We went in to help stabilise the last 200 or so and put them on sponsored planes to be flown back to Johannesburg, where they were placed in various rehabilitation centres around Gauteng.
We helped care for the ones at VulPro, and worked closely with the staff and vets there, feeding and medicating them, supplying food, consumables, medication and even a chest freezer, with the help of our awesome supporters, like you! The VulPro birds were initially identified through coloured cable-ties on their legs because they were too small (and too many!) to ring. Thus names like Condiment (red/yellow), Mr Mustard (yellow/yellow) etc. were given.
#WHWF transferred the chicks to Onderstepoort Veterinary Hospital when it was time for the next stage in their rehabilitation.
“It was with great excitement that we followed the months of their journey, and the transfer back to the Kimberley SPCA facility once strong enough. And then, last week, finally the moment was there – the release of a batch of these special birds into their true home – Kamfers Dam!
To our delight, we found that we ‘knew’ at least three of the flamingos in this batch of 70 or so – Snow White, Wolverine, and Donovan (named for the vet that rescued them – Donovan Smith). Turns out that Wolverine also has a solar tracker now, so in future, his movements can be tracked.”
The feeling of seeing these birds again – all grown now, is only surpassed by the feeling one gets when you watch them fly free for the first time.
Each of the birds were carefully examined by the vet, checked for water-proofing, and the rings double-checked for secure, safe fitment. Some birds were returned to the enclosure to gain a bit more weight before release. The lucky ones were loaded into special boxes for transport to the dam.
At the release site, a ‘paddock’ was made by holding up shade netting in a ring. The flamingos from the boxes were placed inside this ring, and once everyone was inside, the paddock was dragged closer to the dam. The flamingos danced and moved as one with the paddock just like in the GIF’s you see :-D. The dam side was opened, and they poured out into freedom! Once they realised that they were free, some immediately flew, and others just waded a bit to settle down. What an incredible feeling; seeing things through from the beginning to the end – unbeatable. To the flamingos: Fly Free, Pretty Flamingos – the sky is the limit!’
The organisation then went on to thank all the parties involved in helping them get the flamingos home safe. You can continue to read the full post here.
We are so proud of every organisation that took part in the rescue and rehabilitation. Together, they united the country in one common goal, to save as many flamingos as possible. We are also so grateful for every person who donated their time, money and reusable goods to help these organisations achieve this incredible goal.
Take a look at the video below. Now that is a very happy ending!