What is the name of a flock of flamingos

Lake Natron: Lake of the Pink Flamingos

In the far north of Tanzania, on the border with Kenya, lies a unique natural region - Lake Natron. The lake with its reddish color is the largest breeding area for the Lesser Flamingos in East Africa. Here, the WWF is working with 42 communities to designate a community protection area of ​​around 4,500 square kilometers.

Location: Lake Natron is located in the Amboseli-Kilimanjaro region in eastern Africa in Tanzania, on the border with Kenya.

Surface: the project area encompasses the entire Lake Natron community reserve, which is expected to encompass 4,500 square kilometers

Habitat: Grass and tree savannah, forests, strongly alkaline lake, volcanic landscape

If you look at it from above, Lake Natron reveals all its beauty: its red color, which can even be partially recognized from space. It is caused by special algae that only live in strongly alkaline water. So-called brine shrimp live on them, which in turn feed the flamingos, which they filter out of the water with their specialized beaks, similar to baleen whales. The red color accumulates in this food chain and gives the Lesser Flamingos, which use Lake Natron as a breeding ground, their intense pink color. The lake is a bird sanctuary and wetland area of ​​international importance according to the Ramsar Convention and the largest breeding ground for the Lesser Flamingo in East Africa - more than 100,000 animals breed here; At times - depending on the water level and salinity of other lakes - Lake Natron is the only breeding area for Lesser Flamingos in all of East Africa

The lake is 1,040 square kilometers - and thus larger than Berlin - and a maximum of three meters deep. It contains large amounts of sodium carbonate (soda), which come from the volcanic ash of the neighboring, still active volcano Ol Doinyo Lengai. The pH value of the water fluctuates between pH 9 and pH 10.5 depending on the water level. Not many animals can cope with this high salt content - and yet cichlids, endemic algae species, various highly specialized invertebrates and birds live here; especially the Lesser Flamingos.

The area around the lake is a habitat for many species and an important migratory corridor between Serengeti, West Kilimanjaro and Amboseli - elephants, lions, wild dogs, buffalos, giraffes, zebras and many other wild animals live here.

But the special landscape around Lake Natron and the lake itself is threatened: A few years ago it was planned to build a factory on the lake to mine the sodium salt as a raw material for the chemical industry on a large scale - which would have had devastating consequences for this particular habitat. Fortunately, however, this project could be stopped - also thanks to the involvement of the WWF.

Deforestation in the mountain forests around the lake is a threat Charcoal production and large-scale agricultural use of the fertile soils of volcanic origin create the fragile ecosystem. But climate change is also making itself felt: In the increasingly frequent regional drought periods, large herds of cattle are pushing into the area from outside - which leads to massive overgrazing of the areas. In addition, the ancient trails of wild animals are interrupted by agricultural use, fences and roads. Increasing human-wildlife conflicts are the result.

The aims of the WWF in the region

 

With the participation of 42 communities, the WWF would like to build a community protection area of ​​around 4,500 square kilometers. It is designed to protect the largest breeding area of ​​Lesser Flamingos in East Africa and to preserve the natural resources, wildlife and the ecosystem around Lake Natron. The new protected area would be another piece of the puzzle in order to achieve the planned "Mega corridor“To create, which connects the protected areas Serengeti and Kilimanjaro, up to Amboseli and Tsavo.

Together with the communities should Protection and development measures be worked out. Sustainable income alternatives are also to be created for the local population, for example in the form of Nature tourism, beekeeping, improved small-scale agriculture and livestock with fewer but more productive herds. The aim is to create a balance between humans and nature, between use and wilderness.

Anti-poaching work will also be an important topic. For this purpose, community rangers are trained, regular patrols are carried out and outposts are set up for the rangers. The most important prerequisite for this work is the provision of appropriate equipment such as GPS and radio devices, uniforms or boots.

 

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