National Aviary Aids Thousands of Abandoned Flamingo Chicks

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Staff from the National Aviary traveled to South Africa to assist with the rescue of nearly 2,000 Lesser Flamingo chicks that were abandoned due to severe drought. 

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Photo Credit: National Aviary

In response to an international call for expert volunteers to aid in the care of 1800 Lesser Flamingo chicks abandoned by their parents due to drought conditions near their nesting site, the National Aviary has sent avian specialist Teri Grendzinski to the SANCCOB rescue center in South Africa. 

A lack of water resulting from low rainfall, high temperatures and failing infrastructure at the Kamfers Dam in Kimberly, in the Northern Cape, led adult Flamingos to abandon their hatchlings.  The chicks were airlifted to rescue and rehabilitation centers in South Africa.

Ms. Grendzinski, who has more than 25 years of experience and has helped hand-raise multiple Flamingo chicks through the years, is on site in South Africa, where she is lending her expertise and providing hands-on assistance.  

Volunteers are working round the clock to prepare food, and hand-feed, bathe and clean the chicks, as well to provide exercise opportunities for the older chicks. As these chicks are destined for release if all goes well, care protocols are being created to prevent the birds from imprinting with their caregivers, and to foster other natural behaviors. Ms. Grendzinski has been reporting in daily with a detailed account of her work there and providing insight into the long-term challenges ahead as the chicks grow, mature and fledge. 

Lesser Flamingos are the smallest Flamingo species and are native to sub-Saharan Africa.  They are listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to the low number of breeding sites. Most of the breeding sites are threatened by human activities.  

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