Rescued chicks spread their wings

The lesser flamingos are able to self-feed after the rehab.

Forty-two lesser flamingo chicks have been flown back to Kimberley after months of rehabilitation at a Table View bird sanctuary.

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), has rehabilitated 91 of the original 500 chicks that were admitted to the facility at the end of January.

They were part of 2 000 lesser flamingo chicks that had been abandoned by their parents when the Kamfers Dam outside Kimberley dried up (“SANCCOB rescues 500 chicks,” Tabletalk, February 20).

The weak and abandoned chicks were taken in by rehabilitation facilities across South Africa.

Many of the chicks sent to Sanccob succumbed to illness. Only 91 survived.

Sanccob’s Ronnis Daniels said the first batch of those survivors had been put on a commercial flight to Kimberley last Wednesday. They will be returned to the Kamfers Dam breeding site.

“This comes after weeks of hand-rearing and rehabilitating the chicks at the Sanccob Table View centre,” she said.

The 42 will be quarantined and assessed by vets for two weeks before being released.

Sanccob’s clinical veterinarian, Dr David Roberts, said the birds were fit enough to be released.

“The remaining 49 chicks will be transferred to the Northern Cape in the first week of May. Releasable birds will be returned to Kimberley and birds that require further treatment will be transferred to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa with the aim of release at a later stage,” he said.