A colony of lesser flamingos that has lived and bred near the Kamfers Dam in Kimberley, South Africa, for years, were left in need of help in early 2019. Unfortunately, poor rainfall, and some infrastructure issues, caused the dam to start drying up. This drove the adult flamingo population to leave the dam in search of water, and left thousands of baby chicks stranded, with no means of surviving on their own. A massive rescue effort was undertaken to save the chicks.
As a part of these efforts, around 1,000 of these flamingo chicks were sent to the Mike Bolhuis Flamingo Project, near Pretoria. They were taken care of, with the goal of getting strong enough to return to the Kamfers Dam as soon as safely possible.
The project needed help with the chicks during their time in Pretoria though; they requested help with the daily feeding operation and cleaning, as well as for donations of the special bird food used to feed flamingos. The team at Barkers heard about the initiative and Barker Unite decided to get involved.
Our team went to Pretoria, and really mucked in – both figuratively and literally! The team helped with arranging the morning feed, and then also cleaned out the flamingos overnight accommodation – a pretty 'fragrant' experience from all accounts. Any aromatic shortcomings were more than made up by getting to work with the cute, chirping chicks so closely.
After about 2.5 months in Pretoria – once big and strong enough to feed themselves – the first group of chicks began their return journey back to the dam. They spent time re-acclimatizing to their new conditions, before being completely released.
The Barker Unite team were among hundreds of other volunteers who stepped in to assist in giving these fabulous flamingos a second chance at life. A BIG Barker salute to you all.
Fun Fact : Did you know that a flock of flamingos is called a "flamboyance".