Saving the remaining almost endangered flamingos

2019-02-19 06:00
One of the saved flamingos.

One of the saved flamingos.

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Two wildlife facilities specialising in rehabilitating birds in Cape Town are doing their best to save the remaining lesser flamingos species that were recently rescued from Kamfers Dam in Kimberley.

These flamingo chicks were found abandoned by their mothers due to severe drought in the area. They were transported to two different facilities, the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary in Hout Bay and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) in Table View, on Monday 28 January.

A total of 660 flamingo chick were brought to Cape Town, with 100 being taken to World of Birds and 560 to Sanccob.

Due to the severe conditions they were found in, over 300 did not survive and about 40 are still in the intensive care units with a dedicated team looking after them.

However, the facilities need further interventions to be able to sufficiently provide for the needs of these flamingo chicks during this four-month project.

“We have dedicated staff working 24 hours a day to give them the necessary care needed. Claire Peche, our head curator, has not taken a day or night off since the arrival of the chicks two weeks ago. Claire has spent the first two weeks day and night at World of Birds,” said Hendrick Louw of World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary.

Dr Katta Ludynia, Sanccob’s research manager, added that it is important that these types of species are conserved and receive as much care as they possibly can.She said: “The lesser flamingo’s status is ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. There are only three breeding sites for this species in Southern Africa and the other two are threatened by the continuous drought as they are natural pans. These pans only receive enough rain for flamingos to breed successfully once every few years. Flamingos only started to breed successfully at Kamfers Dam in the mid-2000s and it is an important site because it is the only area where water levels can be assured by human management if there is insufficient rainfall.”

Despite their currently challenging financial situations, both facilities are determined to save the last remaining chicks and they are appealing to the public for help to continue their day-to-day services which for World of Birds includes Protexin Soluble from Mobi Flex Cani Vit, Medimune, Vitamin E capsules, waterless handwash alcohol base, syringes 20ml to 60ml, wet wipes, Nestum cereal regular, prawns and shrimps, frozen pilchards, water storage containers (black box) Big Jim, and 80% shadecloth for temporary enclosures

Sanccob is in need of Entero Plus, F10, Cani Vit, Cani Cal, potplants drip trays, non-slip matting mash, scissors, toilet paper, hand sanitisers, washing powder, baby bath thermometers, frozen shrimps, 1ml syringes, frozen prawns, long-life milk, brushes and scoops, whiteboard makers, highlighters, laundry baskets and cat litter trays.

Both facilities also need help with energy drinks and snacks for volunteers assisting in caring for the chicks.

“What’s very necessary is financial contributions to help us with the costs of medication and specialised veterinary and rehabilitation services. As a non-profit organisation, completely reliant on donations, this unfortunate situation of the young chicks’ abandonment has brought about unanticipated costs that we need public support for,” added Ronnis Daniels, Sanccob spokesperson.

Daniels said Sanccob has received a financial boost from international bodies but ongoing day-to-day costs and adjustments done at the facility require extra funds.

Adding to this, Louw said that for World of Birds, the only adjustment will be that once the chicks are older they will need to be housed outside in temporary enclosures, which is likely to result in more costs.

V To make a donation or for more information visit https://bit.ly/2jQAzBg or call 021 557 6155 (Sanccob), or visit https://bit.ly/2Ee7NWU or call 021 790 2730 (World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary).

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