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This Friday, June 1st, 2018, the Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab, a foundation which aims to care for Bonaire’s sick, wounded, and parentless wild birds, will officially open its doors. The foundation’s goal is to enable these wild birds to survive on their own and then return them to their natural environment as soon as possible.

The foundation has been created by Elly Albers, the owner of the Mangrove Center. Elly has a long history of caring for Bonaire’s sick and needy animals, and she immediately jumped in when STINAPA needed help with the oil-covered birds during last year’s oil spill. The birds that were treated, washed and rehabilitated, which marked the beginning of what is now a fully fledged professional rehab center.

The rehab center has already seen all manner of residents–ducklings, frigate birds, boobies, owls, parrots, herons, and caracaras to name just a few.

I have been inspired by Monique de Vrijer from Vogelklas Karel Schot in the Netherlands who does a phenomenal job saving and treating wild birds and animals. Monique is a walking bird encyclopedia and was flown in by Stichting Olie Vogels Nederland to help and train me with the birds from the oil spill. Seeing her work and learning from her encouraged me to establish Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab.

— Elly Albers

Helping flamingos in need.

Sadly, the first huge challenge of the new center is already a fact, as hundreds of chicks and juveniles of Bonaire’s national bird, the American Flamingo, are leaving their sanctuary prematurely and walking around the island as they are severely dehydrated and undernourished. The reasons why this is occurring in 2018 are thus far unclear, but the rehab center has received well over 150 young flamingos in the last 10 weeks. A cry for help for cages and food was shared nearly 600 times on Facebook and led to a huge response from people around the world, eager to bring food or donate funds for much-needed supplies.

The rehab center’s new status as an official foundation makes it much easier to receive and coordinate help. Since the rehab center aims to keep all guests “wild,” it is not possible to visit the center. Those interested in keeping up to date can follow activities on the center’s Facebook page, where Elly posts pictures and videos.

For those who wish to help…

Bonaire’s visitors can help Bonaire’s birds by donating funds to the recovery and rehabilitation of the resident birds.  If you’d like to help, funds can be donated to The Mangrove Center, account #4101014 at Maduro & Curiel’s Bank (Bonaire).  Please state “rehab” in the transfer.

(Source:  Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab)

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Susan Davis, Bonaire InsiderSusan Davis has been living on Bonaire for over 25 years. She is a PADI Master Instructor, a certified bird guide, and an underwater and topside photographer. She also enjoys writing for The Bonaire Insider tourism news blog. 

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