Odette Doest is a veterinarian and a wildlife rehabilitator on the island of Curaçao. The few rescued birds she cannot return to the wild find a permanent home with her. That includes Bob the flamingo. Bob was injured when he crashed into a window. Doest nursed him back to health, and found out he was raised by humans and is not equipped for life in the wild. So Bob became an ambassador for his species, visiting schools with Doest to teach children about island wildlife and the importance of conservation.
While Doest would have preferred to free Bob, she says he’s helping to instill a conservation ethic in the next generation. Kids want to know all about the four-foot-tall pink bird: how his life differs from that of his free-flying cousins, why his feathers are pink (as a result of compounds in the shrimp and algae he eats), and his favorite snack (caviar, which he tries to eat straight out of Doest’s hand). After each school visit, Doest asks one student to carry Bob back to her car. “You see them glowing with pride,” she says of the newest members of Bob’s growing fan base.
Doest’s cousin Jasper Doest is a wildlife photographer. He visited Dr. Doest and accompanied her to a school and a television station with Bob. You can see those photographs, along with Bob’s story, at Audubon magazine. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Jaspar Doest)