Provided by the Denver ZooRescued “Lesser Flamingo” chicks are pictured together in this photo provided by the Denver Zoo. Several chicks are being cared for by the zoo.
Almost 1,800 flamingo chicks and eggs in South Africa are getting a second chance after being abandoned during a drought as conservation agencies from around the world, including the Denver Zoo, have joined a rescue effort for the birds.
The “Lesser Flamingos” were rescued from the Kamfers Dam near Kimberly at the beginning of this year after the adults abandoned them during severe drought conditions, the Denver Zoo said in a news release.
The chicks and eggs were transported to animal hospitals and rescue centers as volunteers traveled to South Africa to take care of them.
“We have staff with expertise in both veterinary medicine and hand-rearing flamingos who we knew could provide critical support to help ensure the survival of these birds in crisis,” said Brian Aucone, senior vice president for animal sciences, on the zoo’s website. “As a conservation and animal care-based organization, this fits our mission to help wildlife, whether that be through our five conservation programs we run around the world, or rapid-response projects like this.”
Provided by the Denver ZooOne of the rescued “lesser flamingo” is pictured in this photo provided by the Denver Zoo. Several chicks are being cared for by the zoo.
Denver Zoo is an “AZA-accredited zoo,” which sent some help for the birds — veterinary technician Eva Smoot worked with more than 50 chicks for three weeks in March in Pretoria, and bird keeper Anton Morrison spent two weeks helping in Pretoria, according to the release. The zoo’s bird curator, Katie Vyas, plans to travel there in May. That’s when they hope to have the birds rehabilitated so they can rejoin their flock, zoo officials said.
“I didn’t even know the impact I would have until I got there and seeing how they responded to it and seeing how much help they needed,” Smoot said on the zoo’s site. “Most days it would just be me manning the fort, feeding, weighing and caring for the birds. It was a lot of work, but also incredibly rewarding.”
The International Union for the Conservation of Species considers lesser flamingos as “near-threatened.” They are typically found in sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of India, according to the zoo.
For more information, visit denverzoo.org/zootales/flocking-to-help/.