Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Natron Flamingos for Population Boom

Photo: Facebook
It is estimated that more than 2.5 million flamingos live in Eastern Africa. All of them were hatched at Tanzania's Lake Natron.

Arusha — TANZANIA will, this year, experience the most significant breeding of flamingos in more than five years, according to scientists.

Up to one million flamingos migrate to Lake Natron in the Enkaresero Ward of Ngorongoro District in Arusha region where they lay their eggs each year.

"If this year's breeding is successful it will be a good boost for the flamingo population. But with so many hurdles to overcome we will have to wait and hope for good conditions," said Dr Sarah Ward from the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), who is currently studying the pink birds.

"Large breeding events involving over one million lesser flamingos are not unusual if conditions at Lake Natron are suitable and if the flamingos are in good health," explained Ms Ward. Dr Ward is a PhD research student studying the relationship between East African lakes and lesser flamingo populations at the university's Institute of Complex Systems Simulation (ICSS) and geography departments.

Lake Natron is, however, not gazetted yet as an official tourism site and recently it became an epicentre of controversy due to the proposed soda-ash extracting factory planned for its Longido shores. It is estimated that more than three-quarters of the world population of lesser flamingos lives in East Africa and uses the Northern-Tanzania's shallow lake as its nesting site.

It is estimated that more than 2.5 million lesser flamingos are currently living in Eastern Africa, from Djibouti down through Tanzania to Malawi. All of them were hatched at Lake Natron. The lake has islands where the birds raise their young away from predators like hyenas but if the water level is too low the birds usually abandon their nests. Lesser flamingos are the smallest, but most common, species of flamingo.

The birds fly in huge migratory groups from other parts of the African continent to Lake Natron. Dry weather caused drought in recent years which meant the birds did not have very successful breeding seasons but with ongoing rains, this year, conditions look better.

On the other hand, the other flamingo habitat -- Lake Manyara -- which lies within the National Park of the same name, is back to its usual form following recent rains that have rescued the water body which was reported diminishing two months ago.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 Tanzania Daily News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Tanzania Expects Flamingo Breeding Boom Despite Mining Plan

It is estimated that more than 2.5 million flamingos live in Eastern Africa. All of them were hatched at Tanzania's Lake Natron.

One million flamingos are expected to breed at Lake Natron, which has been at the center of a battle between enviromentalists and industrialists who would see the lake mined for ... Read more »