2000 Flamingo chicks that were abandoned by their parents due to the drought were rescued in South Africa. The extended period of severe drought has put a lot of people, plants, and animals in danger. It was so bad that the flamingos were willing to abandon one whole generation in order to save themselves.
South African authorities had to take many measures to ensure that water wouldn’t run out in Cape Town, the largest city in the country. The government declared a “day zero”—the moment when they would have to turn off taps in Cape Town because the dam levels are so low. This caused mass panic and water stockpiling, and tourism dropped significantly. Water was capped at 50 litres per person, and those who went over either paid hefty fines or had their taps turned off. A lot of animals also suffered during the drought, and national parks were faced with either letting them die of thirst or hunger, or killing them out of mercy.
Thankfully, the baby flamingos were rescued instead of being left to die. 2000 chicks were abandoned by their parents as the dam waters dried up, but now they have new, more caring human parents. The chicks are currently at the Conservation of Coastal Birds in Cape Town (SANCCOB), and are being hand-reared by volunteers. In the future, they aim to get the birds healthy enough to be released into the wild once again. If ever they need some water, the SANCCOB is sure to swoop to the rescue.
The drought was really bad, but it did allow South Africans to come up with creative ways to conserve water. Capetonians showered standing over buckets in order to collect water to recycle for other uses later. Flushing the toilet was even limited to once a day in some cases. The country’s multi-pronged approach was able to save everyone from day zero: water sources were diversified, irrigation innovations, and reduction of urban water usage. The city’s water use dropped from 600 million litres per day to 507 million litres.
The baby flamingos were saved from dying of hunger and thirst thanks to human rescuers. Their parents simply followed their survival instincts, and it cost them their children. Thankfully, we humans are willing to be the foster parents of these adorable pink birds.