Posts Tagged With: SPCA

Dallas Zoo helps lead international emergency rescue to save over 1,800 flamingo chicks in South Africa

Two of the rescued lesser flamingo chicks cuddle up at the SPCA in Kimberley, South Africa.

The most urgent, wide-scale rescue of wild lesser flamingo chicks in South Africa is underway after 1,800 chicks were found abandoned at their nesting grounds. The international zoo and aquarium community has joined forces to help save the chicks in a massive rescue operation, sending critical funds and avian experts from across the world to South Africa.

A severe drought has affected Kamfers Dam in Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, causing adult flamingos to abandon their nests, leaving thousands of eggs and chicks behind. With only four breeding colonies of lesser flamingos in Africa and one other in India, Kamfers Dam is one of the most important breeding locations for this species in the world.

Dallas Zoo’s Senior Zoologist Julie Farrington hand feeds a rescued chick.

The Dallas Zoo is leading an emergency rescue effort to funnel funding to South Africa in coordination with the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA). The Dallas Zoo has contributed $18,500 to the rescue effort, and is sending multiple waves of support staff to Kimberley. Animal Care Supervisor Kevin Graham and Senior Zoologist Julie Farrington arrived in Kimberley last week, and Dallas Zoo veterinarian Dr. Marren Connolly and veterinary technician Cassandra Reid arrived Sunday and will remain there for three weeks.

Multiple accredited U.S. zoos and aquariums have also contributed nearly $20,000 to the rescue mission, with donations continuing to roll in. (For individuals who would like to donate to the recovery effort, please do so HERE.)

“If the zoo community had not stepped in to help, it is unlikely these chicks would have survived,” said Harrison Edell, Dallas Zoo’s Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation. “Flamingos have rarely been treated in any significant numbers by wildlife rehabilitation facilities. Since we are backed with decades of experience in this, our animal care experts are uniquely qualified to assist in hand-rearing these orphaned lesser flamingos. The world’s accredited zoos and aquariums are no doubt at the forefront of lifesaving conservation work, and we will continue to send our experts to the frontlines when animals need help.”

“To see our worldwide community of wildlife conservationists come together to save these birds from near death is remarkable,” said John Werth, Executive Director of the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA). “Zoos and aquariums have the resources and expertise to save species and our swift action to protect these flamingos is proof of that.”

The 1,800 chicks are being cared for at a number of PAAZA accredited zoos and aquariums, plus, certified partners like SANCCOB, as well as, by staff at the SPCA in Kimberley. An international team of conservationists, zoologists, vet staff, and more are working around the clock to bring the chicks up to good health. The ultimate goal is to release the birds that have been successfully rehabilitated back into their natural habitat by late May, so they can rejoin the flock.

“We’re working 12-hour shifts at the SPCA in Kimberley where the youngest and most critically ill flamingo chicks are being cared for,” said Kevin Graham, Dallas Zoo’s Animal Care Supervisor of Birds. “We hand feed the chicks every few hours, and are constantly monitoring their health. We are running on very little sleep but it’s extremely rewarding work knowing we’re keeping these incredible birds alive.”

With nearly 20,000 birds nesting at Kamfers Dam, a significant hit to the flock could pose long-term problems for the population without intervention. Conservationists are working to implement a detailed plan of action for the future, should a rescue mission like this occur again.

Lesser flamingos are currently listed as near threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Species (IUCN), primarily due to habitat destruction and climate change. It is the smallest species of the six species of flamingos in the world. They’re found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and some parts of India.

The Dallas Zoo cares for more than 30 lesser flamingo chicks in the Wilds of Africa section of the zoo.

Categories: Africa, Birds, Conservation, Zookeepers | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dallas Zoo partners with SPCA of Texas to create a better world for all animals


You may often hear the Dallas Zoo advocate for declining species on faraway continents, but this past weekend we partnered with SPCA of Texas to help our four-legged friends right here in our backyard.

With SPCA of Texas’ surgery vehicle setup in our East parking lot, we’re proud to share our spay and neuter weekend succeeded in helping dozens of dogs and cats in our neighborhood. Nearly 40 pets from three underserved ZIP codes in South Dallas received a free spay or neuter, 45 pets were vaccinated, and an additional 45 animals were signed up for surgery in the near future. As a bonus, people who brought their pets in for services also received free tickets to the Zoo!

“When it comes to animals, it’s not just wildlife that we’re passionate about,” said Sean Greene, Dallas Zoo’s vice president of Guest Experiences. “We care about all animals, and partnering with a great organization like the SPCA of Texas is a wonderful opportunity for us to help our community. We are happy to play a role in efforts that create a better world for animals.”

SPCA of Texas is widely known for helping pets find loving homes and providing them with exceptional care. It’s estimated that just in the three ZIP codes SPCA of Texas focused on for this event, more than 17,000 dogs and 23,000 cats are not spayed or neutered. This weekend made a direct difference in helping our surrounding pet population stay healthy._mg_6309-6x6

“The SPCA of Texas is pleased to have partnered with the Dallas Zoo this past weekend as we brought out our brand new Mobile Spay/Neuter Vehicle to provide free surgeries and vaccinations to our community,” said Maura Davies, SPCA of Texas’ vice president of Communications. “Parking our mobile clinic at the Zoo benefited people and pets alike, as the ability to take this clinic on the road makes it easy for people to provide these critical services to their pets, ensure a healthy community, and prevent pet overpopulation. Thanks to the Dallas Zoo for partnering with the SPCA of Texas to help make our community a great place for pets and people!”

With an incredibly successful weekend and a positive response from local residents, this is certainly the beginning of a meaningful partnership with the SPCA of Texas that’ll continue to serve our community and its animals.

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