Thousands of flamingo chicks rescued from dried-out South African dam

A volunteer feeds a rescued Lesser Flamingo chicks, treated at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) rescue center.

(CNN)Thousands of flamingo chicks have been airlifted from their dried-out habitat in northern South Africa in a desperate attempt to save them.

Around 2,000 Lesser Flamingo juveniles were rescued from the Kamfers Dam near Kimberley at the end of January, after their parents abandoned them following a significant drop in the dam's water levels brought on by drought conditions in the northern Cape.
The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), one of the organizations caring for the chicks, has been canvassing for donations of food and cash, and volunteers to hand-feed the stricken birds.
    Rescued chicks rest under the red light of an incubator early in their rehabilitation.
    Katta Ludynia, the research manager at SANCCOB, said that around 550 birds were transported to the foundation's Cape Town facility by car and by plane.
      "These chicks arrived in a very bad condition since a lot of them were dehydrated, they were tiny -- some of them were just coming out of their eggs -- so we had a little bit of a problem with infections.
      "By now they're all stabilized, they get medical treatment, they get regular feeds" of egg yolks, baby formula, prawns and fish. In between feeds, Ludyina says, they're also fed electrolyte fluids to aid their rehydration.
      Flamingo chicks bask and preen in the sunshine.
      "These chicks will be with SANCCOB for probably another three to four months, until they're ready to be released back into the wild," she said, adding that she was not sure if they would be returned to their birthplace or released elsewhere.
        "Whether they will be released back in Kimberly or ... in the Western Cape still has to be decided."
        A growing number of the chicks in SANCCOB's care are gaining strength and video posted to its social media pages shows chicks walking and preening in the sunshine at its Table View facility, after spending time under incubation heat lamps to aid their development.