Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab Sounds Alarm Bell

The Wild Bird Rehab facilities are over full. Photo: Wild Bird Rehab.

Kralendijk- The Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab is sounding Code Red becaue of an over population at the rehab.

There are currently 142 baby and juvenile flamingos at Bonaire’s Wild Bird Rehab today. That is 72 birds over the rehab’s maximum capacity and 78 birds over last year’s maximum of 66 birds.

The rehab has received over 200 starving or injured flamingos since mid-March of this year. Last week, 28 were released. Over 40 birds have died.

Because of the situation, the rehab has had to stop actively searching for starving and injured birds and is now only able to respond to emergency calls from the general public.

Even with all the volunteers helping to feed the birds and clean the cages, the rehab has simply vastly overreached its physical capacity. The enormous number of very young birds means that the rehab is unable to release birds within the usual four-week period. The fact that the birds need to stay longer than usual also means that space for new birds is not being created quickly enough

Flamingo’s feed their young for about 105 days, by which time the young should be strong and developed enough to fly. For reasons that are not yet clear, the flamingos coming into the rehab are extremely malnourished and weigh less than half of what they should. At some point, again for reasons that are unclear, they are leaving the breeding site and start to wander in search of food, which they are evidently not finding. They travel downwind until they reach the border of their sanctuary, and then either follow the road north, or travel along the coastline. These flamingos all march towards their death, with no exceptions. They will be killed by traffic, be swept to sea, or die from exhaustion and hunger. Even if they seem fit and active at first glance.


According to the rehab facility, what is happening at the moment to Bonaire’s national bird is a tragedy. It happened last year and it is happening again this year at an even more disastrous scale. One or more things are wrong in the flamingos habitat and/or feeding process, and it is absolutely vital that extensive research is done to find answers if Bonaire wishes to keep its natural bird alive and thriving in its beautiful parks.

Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab would like to ask the people of Bonaire to please be aware that many juvenile flamingos will be wandering the roads in the next days and weeks and to please drive carefully and report birds in need of help to the FKK Animal Rescue Team at 780 8020. As a rule of thumb, if a young flamingo is outside the sanctuary and unable to fly away, walking in the direction of town, or on the road and in danger, it needs help. It would not be there if it did not.

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