A team of veterinarians from the Dallas Zoo is back in north Texas after a remarkable mission to save thousands of flamingos in South Africa.
The flamingos still hatching were abandoned by their parents during extreme drought conditions.
So why did Texans help lead the charge to save the animals?
“Not many people have ever rehabilitated a wild flamingo and in terms of raising a baby flamingos from the egg up to adulthood that’s challenging stuff but we’ve done that for decades in American zoos,” said Harrison Edell, the executive VP for animal care and conservation.
He and 14 others traveled to South Africa, on and off for a year, to feed and raise the babies.
Edell says the key test was in may when he helped coordinate the release of the first 49 rehabilitated flamingos into the wild.
“To take an animal that we’ve been working with for months and to just turn it loose where we have zero control over what it does is nerve wracking but at the end of the day it’s also the ultimate reward because that’s what we set out to do.”
He says trackers show the birds are interacting well with adult flamingos
The 15-person team from the Dallas Zoo was part of a group of 50 americans who helped save the flamingos.
But, the work isn’t over yet.
Some of the flamingos were not ready to be released before the South African winter began, so they’re still being cared for by people.