Baby flamingo walks around Jurong Bird Park in shiny blue shoes

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Keepers at Jurong Bird Park started walking Squish, a baby greater flamingo, when it was ten days old to develop its leg strength. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
One of Squish's carers gingerly putting special handmade booties on Squish before its daily walk. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE
Squish wears the boots to protect its foot pads from the hard ground. Ground surfaces are softer in the wild. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - A baby flamingo has been walking around Jurong Bird Park's Breeding and Research Centre in a pair of shiny blue shoes.

The bird, Squish, named for its 'squish-ability', is over two months old. It is a greater flamingo - the largest of their species - which was abandoned as an egg.

It had been taken to the Breeding and Research Centre's incubation room after it was found by keepers, where it was kept warm at around 37 deg C for about a month before hatching on June 7.

Hitting the scales at just 90.5g, it was fed a special formula consisting of eggs and multi-vitamins - protein-rich, like a parent flamingo's crop milk - up to five times daily, and now weighs a healthy 1.2kg.

Squish goes on short walks around the centre to develop its leg strength, and wears soft blue boots to protect its foot pads from the hard ground. Ground surfaces are softer in the wild.

The chick also spends time in the weaning room adjusting to the outdoor temperature, and learning to feed on its own.

Squish standing on its own at Day 5. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

It will join the over 300-strong flock at Flamingo Lake when it hits three months of age.

Baby flamingos start out whitish-grey, and their plumage turn into the familiar pink after around two years, from a diet of shrimps, small crustaceans and algae.

Jurong Bird Park's avian veterinarian, Dr Neo Peici (left), checking on Squish, assisted by veterinary nurse Marcus Tan. PHOTO: WILDLIFE RESERVES SINGAPORE

The Bird Park's flamingos and other waterfowl undergo annual health checks and flu vaccinations, to maintain their health and prevent illnesses.

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