Meet Flamingo Bob, the poster bird for conservation

Rescued by a veterinarian in Curaçao, the charismatic bird has become a local celebrity—and spokesbird for environmental awareness.

Photographer Jasper Doest, Odette’s cousin, swims with Bob in the Caribbean Sea.

Bob enjoys breakfasts of caviar, dips in his own saltwater pool, and biweekly foot massages on the beach. A charmed life, perhaps, but you could say he deserves it: Bob spends a lot of his time interacting with schoolchildren on his native island of Curaçao, serving as an emissary for conservation.

Bob, you see, is a flamingo.

Veterinarian Odette Doest rescued Bob in 2016, after the bird slammed into a hotel window and got a concussion. While rehabilitating the bird at her nonprofit wildlife sanctuary, Fundashon Dier en Onderwijs Cariben (Foundation for Animals and Education in the Caribbean), Doest discovered that Bob previously had been domesticated: He was very relaxed around people, and he suffered from bumblefoot, a chronic foot disease common in captive birds, which would have impaired his ability to catch food in the wild.

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