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Learning from Crisis: uShaka Sea World Uses ZIMS to Inform Future Rescues

Like you, we have been captivated by the progress of days-old lesser flamingo chicks rescued from the drought-stricken Kamfers Dam in southern Africa. Multiple marine institutions stepped up to care for large groups of chicks, including uShaka Sea World where staff veterinarians, keepers, and volunteers worked around the clock to help fragile individuals survive the traumatic start. To help teams respond to similar crisis in the future, uShaka Sea World veterinarians and staff used ZIMS for Husbandry to record the progress, care, and medical treatment of each chick during these early days.

Here, the uShaka Sea World team shares some of their experience with the Species360 member support lead Kim Larson.

FROM uShaka Sea World: uShaka Sea World is proud to be in a position to offer a temporary home to some of the lesser flamingo chicks rescued by the Kimberley SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) from the Kamfers Dam near Kimberley.  On the 27th January 2019, 253 flamingo chicks were flown from Kimberley to Durban before being driven to uShaka Sea World.  On arrival they were assessed and grouped according to their weight and general condition.

“It has been an intense week and I am most grateful to the staff and volunteers who have so ably and willingly assisted in caring for the flamingos,” said uShaka Sea World veterinarian Francois Lampen.

The care team adds that ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System) has been very helpful in tracking the flamingo numbers, such as mortalities and weight gain. “It is also a great help in keeping notes and observations,” said Lampen. “These will be incredibly useful should we ever have to deal with a crisis such as this again.”

Most of the uShaka Sea World flamingos are now entering, or well into their second week of life and spend time enjoying the sunshine, wading in water dishes and attempting to preen themselves.  Occasionally one will even manage to stand boldly on one leg!


Thank you uShaka Sea World for sending this update. For more information and photos, check out these Lesser Flamingo Rescue Updates at uShaka Sea World parent organization South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBRE).

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