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Drought threatens thousands of Flamingo chickens in Africa



Rescuers move hundreds of dehydrated smaller flamingo chicks from their drought in a drought-stricken South African dam to a bird sanctuary in Cape Town to rescue them from death due to hunger and lack of water.

Their birthplace, Kamfers Dam on the North Horn, is one of the three most popular pink bird breeding sites in South Africa, the other two being in Namibia and Botswana, according to researcher Katta Ludynia.

A rescued smaller Flamingo chicken is fed after moving from the North Cape Province to the SANCCOB Rehabilitation Center in Cape Town, South Africa, on January 30, 2019.

A rescued smaller Flamingo chicken is fed after moving from the North Cape Province to the SANCCOB Rehabilitation Center in Cape Town, South Africa, on January 30, 2019.

The rescued chicks take three to four months, and it is not yet clear whether they will eventually be released into the wild in Cape Town or returned to hundreds of kilometers to their home in Kimberley.

"There are still thousands of birds growing in the dam in areas where there is still water," said Katta Ludynia, research director at the South African Coastal Bird Protection Fund (SANCCOB). "Now it depends on the water levels, whether these birds will be through."

Ludwig said the shrine cared for about 550 chickens, most of them dehydrating when they arrived on Monday after the parents who left for food were abandoned.

The chicks are moved to the shrine by plane and road.

A rescued the smaller flamingo puppies from the box after he was moved from the dam in the North Cape Province to the SANCCOB Rehabilitation Center in Cape Town, South Africa on January 30, 2019.

A rescued the smaller flamingo puppies from the box after he was moved from the dam in the North Cape Province to the SANCCOB Rehabilitation Center in Cape Town, South Africa on January 30, 2019.

SANCCOB is one of several centers across South Africa, which cares about 2,000 chickens rescued from the dam.

Although it has the largest population of smaller flamingo in South Africa, Kamfers Dam, north of Kimberley, is often dry and mostly dependent on rainwater. It also draws water from the sewer that releases water in its wetlands.

"The Kimberley Dam is so important because it is manageable, so we can provide water levels. It could be the only object where flamingo can be cultivated in southern Africa if drought continues in other areas," said Ludwig.


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