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News > World

Kenyan Scientists Sound Alarm Over Threats to Flamingos

  • Flamingos at a water source, Kenya.

    Flamingos at a water source, Kenya. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 23 May 2022

African migratory birds are being affected by disruption of weather patterns, habitat fragmentation, and pollution of water sources.

The human and climate induced threats to flamingos that inhabit Kenya's alkaline Rift Valley lakes have mounted, hence diminishing the migratory birds' population.


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Caroline Mwebia, the deputy park warden at Lake Nakuru National Park, said that habitat destruction, climatic stresses, pollution and predation have emerged as existential threats to the survival of flamingos.

"Some of the challenges facing flamingos are related to habitat degradation, pollution of wetlands and fluctuation of lake water levels," Mwebia said at Lake Nakuru National Park, a world-renowned flamingo habitat located 200 km northwest of Nairobi.

Kenya's alkaline Rift Valley lakes are crucial habitation for flamingos and other migratory birds, where they feed on alga bloom, insects and crustaceans and later fly back to Lake Natron in neighboring Tanzania to breed.

The migration of flamingos from Lake Natron to Lake Nakuru and other Rift Valley lakes including Elementaita and Bogoria peaks from April to June. Kenya's alkaline lakes are a popular destination for two flamingo species, greater and lesser flamingos, amid plenty of food including the blue-green algae and a host of invertebrates.

Mwebia noted that unpredictable weather patterns have disrupted the migration of flamingos from Tanzania to Kenya, adding that curbing lake pollution and increasing public education is the key to strengthening the protection of the migratory birds.

Evelyn Silali, the assistant research technologist at Lake Nakuru National Park said that rapid urbanization, habitat loss and fragmentation and declining lake water quality have escalated threats to the survival of flamingos.

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