Jurong Bird Park, Singapore: Abandoned baby flamingo 'Squish' wears booties to protect his feet

A baby flamingo took a stroll through the grounds of Singapore's Jurong Bird Park on Thursday wearing a pair of booties to protect its feet.

Squish, as the 1.6-kg Greater Flamingo is known, was born two-and-a-half months ago from an abandoned egg the keepers found and incubated at the park's Breeding and Research Centre.

The park says the handmade booties are to protect Squish's feet from the hot concrete surfaces outside the centre, a far cry from the cool, wet mudflats of its native South Africa.

Daily walks are needed for exercise and exposure to daylight to help strengthen the long-legged bird's bones.

"When his feet are okay, we will send him back into the flock and hopefully he will be able to integrate with them," said Gerard Wan, an animal care officer at the bird park, which is managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Flamingos are currently classed as "relatively low risk of extinction" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

It takes two years for young flamingos like Squish to lose their grey and white colour and take on the distinctive pink hue their species are famous for and which comes from the shrimp-like crustaceans in their diet.


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