29 Jan uShaka Flocks to the Rescue
UPDATE – 30 January 2019
SAAMBR has been overwhelmed by the response to call for assistance with the flamingo chicks that arrived at uShaka Sea World on Sunday 27th January. It has been heartwarming to see how many people have offered to help and we are very grateful to everyone but right now we do not need any more volunteers.
We have a team of trained volunteers operating optimally. However, as time passes we may need additional help and we will then post a call for assistance on our social media platforms. ‘It is at a time like this when we realise how many people really want to help nature’ said project coordinator Tracy Shaw.
The young flamingoes are growing fast and many of them are now feeding well and recognising the syringes as a source of food. Some of them have even started to darken in colour as they begin their second week of life. ‘These little birds are fragile and need care and we are doing the best that we can for each one.’ said Dr Caryl Knox, uShaka Sea World veterinarian.
uShaka Sea World joins national efforts to provide a temporary home for 250 Lesser Flamingo chicks
uShaka Sea World is now a temporary home for 250 Lesser Flamingo chicks rescued by the Kimberly SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and others from the Kamfers Dam near Kimberly. uShaka Sea World Director, Tony Mc Ewan, leapt into action the moment the SPCA contacted him for assistance.
The Kimberly SPCA needed suitable accredited facilities capable of hand raising 250 of the thousands abandoned Flamingo chicks.
uShaka Sea World is well placed to assist with the rescue efforts as we assisted with the Treasure Oil Spill in 2000, during which we cared for hundreds of penguin chicks prior to release. Although we have not housed flamingos in the past, resident veterinarian Francois Lampen has experience with this species and is confident that our animal care team is qualified to assist these desperate young chicks. ‘If these chicks are not rescued, they will all die. We know that many may still die. Saving them at this stage will not be easy, but if we can at least save a few we will be helping this species.” Said Dr Francois Lampen SAAMBR Veterinarian.
About 15,000 Lesser flamingos nest at the Kamfers Dam. However, due to a combination of issues, the dam is drying up and the chicks have been abandoned. Rescue efforts have been initiated and the chicks, which are all just days old, are being sent to suitable facilities around the country. A number of PAAZA (Pan African Association for Zoos and Aquaria) around South Africa have opened their doors and accepted various numbers of the stranded chicks. Although they are scattered around the country the chicks’ rehabilitation will be a collaborative effort as various organisations work together towards their recovery and release.
“I am delighted uShaka Sea World agreed to provide a home for 250 of the stranded chicks as I have every confidence in their ability to offer extraordinary care,” said SPCA’s Flamingo project co-ordinator, Linja Allen.
For more information contact Ann Kunz on 083 392 4147 or 031 328 8152
Watch the heartwarming video of volunteers helping the chicks.
Video created by: Die Swart Kat Productions