The birds are being hand-reared by volunteers as months of dry weather threatens breeding ground
Guardian staff and agencies
Thu 7 Feb 2019 02.49 GMTLast modified on Thu 7 Feb 2019 10.27 GMT
Under warming red light at a rescue centre in Cape Town baby flamingos are fed, weighed and cared for. The chicks are among 2,000 that were rescued after they were abandoned by their parents as dam waters dried up in .
A special airlift for thousands of baby flamingos is under way in South Africaas drought has put their breeding ground in peril, with a reservoir that hosts one of southern Africa’s largest flamingo populations drying up.
Nicky Stander, rehabilitation manager at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal in Cape Town (SANCCOB), said her team swung into action when news of the abandoned birds broke last month.
“We rehabilitate, that’s our business, and with the aim of releasing back into the wild. We have very large facilities here that were built last year. And we thought we were the best people to contribute to this project,” said Stander.
“As time goes on and they grow, we are going have to adapt the way that we house them and make sure that they have long running space so they can exercise their legs.”
South Africa has faced an extended period of severe drought, with the – a moment when dam levels would be so low that they would turn off the taps in Cape Town and send people to communal water collection points.
This apocalyptic notion prompted water stockpiling and panic, but also led to a dramatic reduction in per capita water usage and day zero was eventually averted. But the impacts of the drought are still being felt.