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e are currently hand-rearing and rehabilitating 94 Lesser flamingo chicks. These are the survivors of 560 abandoned flamingo chicks admitted to our Table View facility on Monday, 28 January 2019, after their removal from the Kamfers Dam breeding site in the Northern Cape, by Saam Staan Kimberley and volunteers. Unfortunately, there were a number of mortalities upon arrival at SANCCOB and over the course of the four weeks after admission, many chicks were just too weak to pull through.
The Lesser flamingo chicks were abandoned by their parent birds, due to the lack of water at the Kamfers Dam breeding site, which led to the adults abandoning their nests. There are only three breeding sites for this species in Southern Africa and the other two sites are threatened by the continuous drought because they are natural pans. These pans only receive sufficient rain for flamingos to breed successfully every few years and the Kamfers Dam site is the only area where water levels can be assured by human management if there is insufficient rainfall.
The rescued chicks were admitted to various bird rehabilitation facilities in South Africa, so a multitude of organisations are working together to save them. SANCCOB is working round-the-clock to provide expert rehabilitation and uses specialised chick husbandry techniques, acquired over a decade of experience in successfully incubating and hand-rearing African penguin eggs and chicks until release back to the wild. On a global note, animal professionals from partnering zoos and aquariums around the world have traveled from abroad to share their expert advice and help alleviate the additional load of feeding and caring for the young birds.
On 7 February, 10 days after admission, all chicks were implanted with transponders – a subcutaneously inserted tracker that will be a permanent marker for identification in the colonies or if admitted at any rehabilitation facility in future. In SANCCOB’s present situation with 94 chicks, it makes it easier for feeding and medication regimes at the centre to identify each bird and give the most appropriate individual care.
The unanticipated admission of the Lesser flamingo chicks led to an understandable need for public support in terms of donations to assist in covering costs of feeds, medical supplies and specialised veterinary and rehabilitation services.
The donations in kind and volunteers offering their time has been humbling. A special word of thanks is necessary for the volumes of givers, who either dropped off supplies or made cash donations toward the flamingos’ care.
To ensure the best possible outcome for the growing chicks, SANCCOB needs to maintain the level of rehabilitation and are actively fundraising for the flamingo care, in addition to its conservation work to rehabilitate African penguins and coastal birds. A 300m2 enclosure has been erected at the facility to provide a more spacious environment with a designated pool area and the flamingo chicks are enjoying their new space.
BE PART OF THE NEXT RESCUE
Last winter, caring supporters like you helped us save 30 oiled penguins and their 4 chicks from Bird and St Croix Islands.
The birds were taken to our seabird centre in Cape St Francis, where trained staff and volunteers washed, fed and cared for them for 4-6 weeks, while they regained their strength and the natural waterproofing of their feathers.
The chicks, which were less than three weeks old and weighed only 500 grams, were hand-reared at SANCCOB. All 34 birds were successfully released back into the wild.
WHAT WE DO
SANCCOB saves seabirds
HOW TO HELP
FOUND A BIRD?
all us any time of the day or night. SANCCOB is a 24-hour Seabird Rescue Centre and will respond to all seabirds in distress, including African Penguins, Cape Gannets, Terns, Cormorants, Seagulls, Oystercatchers, Albatrosses, Petrels, Pelicans and other marine birds.
+27 (0)21 557 6155
+27 (0) 78 638 3731 (after hours & weekends)
+27 (0)41 583 1830
Depending on the nature of the injury and the location of the seabird, we will dispatch one of our own Rescue Units, offer stabilisation advice or put you in contact with the nearest organisation that can assist.
What to do when you find an injured/sick/oiled seabird:
- Please approach any seabird with care – some, such as Cape Gannets and African Penguins, have sharp beaks.
- Have with you a towel or blanket and wear protection over your hands and eyes.
- Throw the towel or blanket over the bird to catch it, ensuring that the bird is able to breathe.
- Place the bird in a large box if you have one, after first ensuring that there are holes for air.
- Keep the bird in a warm quiet place until help arrives