More than 500 chicks were admitted to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) late last month. They were part of the 2 000 lesser flamingo chicks abandoned by their parents when the Kamfers Dam outside Kimberley dried up. The birds are classified as “near threatened” because of their declining numbers and limited breeding grounds.
The rescued chicks were admitted to various bird rehabilitation facilities in South Africa.
“The flamingo chicks arrived in extremely poor condition and Sanccob’s main priority is to give them the best chance to make it through this critical time,” said the foundation’s Ronnis Daniels.
“The travelling time and period of time passed between their rescue and admission into rehabilitation placed a strain on their already weakened state and, unfortunately, resulted in a number of deaths thus far.”
Fewer than 300 of the chicks admitted to Sanccob are still alive.
According to Ms Daniels, there is a large group of strong, growing chicks and then there are 49 weaker ones in high care in the centre’s chick-rearing unit.
“Sanccob is renowned for its hand-rearing of abandoned sea bird chicks – especially the endangered African penguin – and while each species presents a different level of resilience, the organisation is using all its resources to hand-rear and provide for each and every chick,” she said.
The additional veterinary care, medication, rehabilitation, feeds, and looming space constraints are taking their toll on Sanccob, which is on a funding drive to support what it estimates could be a three to four month long rehabilitation operation.
“We are currently at capacity in terms of space and human resources to accommodate the hundreds of surviving chicks but as they continue to grow in the next few months, and as the birds need to be exercised, possible expansion with enclosures will become necessary,” said Ms Daniels.
Visit www.sanccob.co.za and used the reference “Flamingo” to donate online or contact Sanccob at Wilmie@sanccob.co.za or 021 557 6155 to get the foundation’s full list of needs.