Pink run to Freedom
In a successful joint operation led by Delhi Zoo and Wildlife SOS, a Greater Flamingo bird that was found critically injured has been treated and released in the wild. The bird was returned to its natural habitat & integrated with a resident flock of flamingos at the Najafgarh wetlands, thus setting a new precedence in ensuring conservation of biodiversity.
In a win for conservationists and nature lovers, a critically injured Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) was treated at Delhi Zoo & released when it was declared fit.
As soon as the Delhi Zoo Director informed Wildlife SOS that the bird was ready for release, the Wildlife SOS team reached out to the Delhi bird group for their assistance in locating and identifying a resident flock of flamingos into which the bird could be integrated.
A resident flock of flamingos was identified at Najafgarh Jheel Wetlands. A team consisting of Delhi Zoo Vet and Wildlife SOS team left with the flamingo from NZP for Najafgarh to begin the integration process. Delhi Bird members Sandeep & Nidhi Gupta joined the team en route.
Since the flamingo flock was over 1 km from the bank in the wetlands, there was no road access. Therefore the team arranged a boat to transport the flamingo closer to the flock. When the team was a couple of hundred meters from the resident flock, the flamingo was released.
The team was reassured to observe that the flamingo started feeding in the water immediately upon release. Greater flamingos are the largest & most widespread flamingo species & live in flocks called colonies to protect individual birds from predators. Parent flamingos produce a red color crop milk, in their digestive tracts and regurgitate it to feed their young.
Dr. Suneesh Buxy, IFS – Director NZP Delhi Zoo, said, “Vet team NZP has done a good job with team spirit, providing treatment. It’s a pleasure to see that the isolated bird was reunited with its family and set free in its natural habitat. More zoos must make sincere efforts to return wildlife to their habitat, as their contribution to conservation.”
Dr. Vikas Jayswal, Veterinary Officer, Delhi Zoo, said, “We monitored the flamingo’s treatment and medical progress to expedite recovery so it could be returned to the wild.
Kartick Satyanarayan, CEO of Wildlife SOS, said, “Delhi Zoo and Wildlife SOS shared a common goal. We wanted the bird successfully released in the wild. Delhi Bird members came to our aid and helped us identify resident flock of flamingos in Najafgarh Wetlands. This was a challenging situation as the only way to successfully release the bird was by using a boat. I appreciate the NZP Director and Veterinary team returning the flamingo to its natural habitat”
Bhavya & Pranav Gupta, young bird enthusiasts present during the release, said, “This is one of the most exciting adventures we have experienced. Our parents encouraged us to protect birds & become nature lovers. It was inspiring to see Delhi Zoo and Wildlife SOS work so hard to put this bird back in its natural habitat. We learned a lot about flamingos today.”
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Wildlife SOS (WSOS) is a non-profit charity established in 1998 with the primary objective of rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in distress across India. We actively run wildlife and nature protection projects to promote conservation, combat poaching & illegal wildlife trade. We also work in partnership with the Government and indigenous communities to create sustainable, alternate livelihoods for erstwhile poacher communities.