The World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park in Hout Bay has become the new home to 100 flamingo chicks after more than 2 000 birds were rescued from a Kimberley dam last month.
Saam Staan, a non-profit organisation based in Kimberley, headed the rescue operation at the privately-owned Kamfers Dam and flew the birds to Cape Town.
The chicks, which are only a few days old, were abandoned by their parents due to the severe drought and minimal water supply to the dam.
Kamfers Dam is one of three breeding grounds for flamingos in South Africa and the only one for the lesser flamingo, which
is classified as “near threatened” because of its declining numbers and shortage of breeding grounds.
Many organisations have taken in some of the birds to help with the rehabilitation process.
uShaka Marine World in Durban took in 250 birds and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) took 550 of the chicks.
Hendrik Louw, general manager and co-founder of World of Birds, said it had been a sanctuary for birds for more than 45 years.
“The fact that there are so many at the same time is what makes this different from any other rescue we normally handle,” he said.
Once the birds arrived at World of Birds, they were assessed and split into four groups from healthiest to weakest. Two of the groups needed intense care.
“There were a few losses on arrival and subsequently more losses during the first two nights. We are positive that they have now been stabilised and no more chicks are kept in the ICU units. The chicks are being fed a mixture of pilchards, prawn meat and Nestum milk, which is then made into a liquid. This is fed to them through a syringe,” said Mr Louw.
According to Katta Ludynia, research manager at Sanccob, some birds are continuing to breed in the parts of the dam that still have water.
“It now depends on the water levels whether these birds will pull through. Hopefully this will draw attention to the local municipality of Kimberley and put pressure on them to assist in supplying water to this area. We have had so much support from Hout Bay, as well as greater Cape Town. We cannot do this on our own and are grateful to each and every person who has assisted us this far,” said Ms Louw.
Donations that are urgently needed include Nestum cereal regular, water, prawns and frozen pilchards.
Visit the World of Birds Facebook page for a full list of necessities.