Friday, the 1st of June, the Bonaire Wild Bird Rehab, a foundation which aims to care for Bonaire’s sick, wounded, and parentless wild birds officially opened 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 initiated 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 marked the beginning of what is now a fully-fledged professional rehab center.
“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. She 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,” says Elly. The rehab center has already seen all sorts of guests; ducklings, frigate birds, boobies, owls, parrots, herons, and cara caras to name just a few.
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 Caribbean flamingo, are leaving their sanctuary prematurely and walking around the island severely dehydrated and undernourished. The reasons are thus far unclear, but the rehab center has received well over a 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. You can follow everything that goes on there on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Bonairewildbirdrehab/) where Elly posts lots of pictures and videos.
You can also help Elly and all her patients by donating money to the Mangrove Center, account 4101014 at the MCB Bank on Bonaire, stating ‘rehab’ as the reason.