Flamingo chicks at Pretoria Zoo that were moved from Kamfers Dam in Kimberly as a result of adverse climatic conditions. Picture: Rudzani Matshili

Pretoria - The state of the rescued flamingo chicks when they first arrived at the Pretoria Zoo was terrible, but now you can see how much they have thrived. 

About 3 000 chicks were rescued during a nationwide operation and are being treated at bird rehabilitation centres across the country. 

They were moved from Kamfers Dam in Kimberley, as a result of adverse climatic conditions.

Of these, about 150 were housed at the Zoo and about 25% didn’t survive. 

And more than 2 000 chicks are being treated by 40 volunteers at Mike Bolhuis's smallholding outside Pretoria.

Flamingo chicks at Pretoria Zoo that were moved from Kamfers Dam in Kimberly as a result of adverse climatic conditions. Video: Rudzani Matshili


On Friday, the survivors seemed sprightly as they tried to reach for a feeding tube from Karien Schmidt, a volunteer who was feeding them. 

Schmidt, who is a wildlife rehabilitator said they have grown immensely and were stable. 

The smallest chicks weighed only 60g when they were first brought to the City, but the biggest now weigh about 600g- with 60% of them now eating on their own.   

“They are doing very well. We’ve stabilised all of them and obviously when they arrived they were compromised, some of them were badly dehydrated, but the ones we have now are stable and are growing according to the expected percentage weight increase.”

Wildlife rehabilitator Karien Schmidt feeding flamingo chicks at the Pretoria Zoo. Video: Rudzani Matshili


“We still support feed them a few times a day but we put food out in between so that those that want to eat on their own can do so,” she told the Pretoria News.  

Despite the optimistic progress, Schmidt said they were not yet ready to be relocated or moved back to the dam.  

“There are talks of them going to the dam but it needs to be part of the bigger rehabilitation protocols that they follow. 

"The ones that need to go through to another location need to be able to eat on their own first. 

"We are looking at those who can eat on their own and those are the ones that will obviously get preference of being moved first,” she said.

Pretoria News