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Local youth saves flamingo chicks from preying feral cat

Local youth saves flamingo chicks from preying feral cat

Student and Wildlife Photographer, Rondel H. Smith has chronicled what it took to save the chicks of wild Caribbean Flamings who use the mudbanks of Anegada to nest in mid-July.

Smith, an Associate of Science Degree (A.S) in General Studies student at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) in the Virgin Islands had set out to film the flamingos during the nesting season.

Smith was filming interactions


“By mid-July, the first chicks of the season had finally hatched and with that, I had set out to film interactions between the chicks and the parents the next day. When I returned though, all of the chicks were gone which wasn’t normal as they don’t develop the strength to leave the nest until about 4-7 days after hatching,” he said in a Facebook post of August 29, 2022.

In the post that has since amassed over 150 shares and likes, Smith said the missing chicks caused him to continue monitoring the situation.

“I continued to monitor the nests until the next batch had hatched so that I could deploy a motion-sensing camera overlooking one of the chicks. I gave it a few days before I returned to see what it had captured, and it had revealed a feral cat visiting the nests multiple times each day preying on the newly hatched chicks.”

Feral cats are unsocialised outdoor cats that have either never had any physical contact with humans or human contact has diminished so much over time that the cat is used to living outdoors and hunting.

Feral cat discovered


Smith said along with the discovery of the cat, the camera captured a large number of images which revealed a distressed flamingo couple searching relentlessly for their missing chick.

“As I scanned through the hundreds of images captured by the trail camera, I observed one pair of birds relentlessly search and calling for their chick that had been snatched during the night until eventually the female of the pair sat back on the empty nest and refused to move for some time.”

He said within days, a live trap had been deployed at the nest site in an attempt to address this situation and fortunately, it proved to be successful.

“After the cat had been caught, the remaining chicks had hatched and have since grown large enough to fend for themselves confirming what the problem was,” he added.

Smith also noted that due to the extremely low number of juveniles in the flock it is presumed that this isn’t the first year the chicks were hunted, however, he hopes it will be the last.

Rondel H. Smith, an Associate of Science Degree (A.S) in General Studies student at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) in the Virgin Islands had set out to film the flamingos during the nesting season.


In the post that has since amassed a number over 150 shares and likes, Smith said the missing chicks has caused him to continue monitoring the situation.


Feral cats are unsocialized outdoor cats that have either never had any physical contact with humans, or human contact has diminished so much, over time, the cat is used to living outdoors and hunting.


Smith also noted that due to the extremely low number of juveniles in the flock it is presumed that this isn’t the first year the chicks were hunted, however, he hopes it will be the last.

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