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Special airlift for baby flamingos in peril in South Africa

Updated : 2019-02-02 16:23:28

A special airlift for thousands of baby flamingos is under way in South Africa as drought has put their breeding ground in peril. A reservoir that hosts one of southern Africa's largest flamingo populations is drying up. The flamingo eggs are losing their cool, moist protective cover and their inner membranes are hardening, making it difficult for chicks to peck their way out. Predators such as meerkats, dogs and hawks are nearby, waiting for the exhausted chicks to emerge.

The site is littered with the bodies of hundreds of dead chicks. The cheeps of chicks trapped inside overheating eggs can be heard. Local and national groups, along with environmental authorities, have stepped in for the rescue operation swiftly organized online and by word of mouth. Bird experts and veterinarians have pitched in.

A newly born flamingo chick struggles to walk on a dried out dam in Kimberley, South Africa. (AP Photo)
A newly born flamingo chick struggles to walk on a dried out dam in Kimberley, South Africa. (AP Photo)
Rescued flamingo chicks have access to water at a centre after being rescued from a dried out dam in Kimberley, South Africa. (AP Photo)
Rescued flamingo chicks have access to water at a centre after being rescued from a dried out dam in Kimberley, South Africa. (AP Photo)
A rescued flamingo chick is fed at a centre after being rescued from a dried out dam, in Kimberley, South Africa. (AP Photo)
A rescued flamingo chick is fed at a centre after being rescued from a dried out dam, in Kimberley, South Africa. (AP Photo)
A special airlift for thousands of baby flamingos is under way in South Africa as drought has put their breeding ground in peril. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A special airlift for thousands of baby flamingos is under way in South Africa as drought has put their breeding ground in peril. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A flamingo chick is dried at a centre in Pretoria, South Africa, after being rescued from a dried out dam in Kimberley. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A flamingo chick is dried at a centre in Pretoria, South Africa, after being rescued from a dried out dam in Kimberley. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A flamingo chick tries to walk at a centre in Pretoria, South Africa, after being rescued from a dried out dam in Kimberley. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
A flamingo chick tries to walk at a centre in Pretoria, South Africa, after being rescued from a dried out dam in Kimberley. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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