Lake in Central Anataolia becomes incubator for flamingos once again
AKSARAY – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThousands of flamingo chicks that have hatched on Salt Lake, which is home to the largest flamingo colonies in Turkey and the Mediterranean basin, have turned the lake in Central Anatolia into a veritable incubator for the distinctive bird.
“Living on the lake in groups, the flamingo chicks start flight training after they become mature and migrate in September every year. Thousands of flamingo chicks have turned Salt Lake into a flamingo kindergarten,” said Niyazi Alçay, the district mayor of Aksaray’s Eskil district.
The southern part of the lake was the most important habitat area for flamingos in the whole region, Alçay said.
Flamingos are very selective in choosing their habitat area. “Seasonally, flamingos migrate to the Mediterranean basin and its surroundings to find food and to hatch. During their migration, salty wetlands are the most important habitat areas for them.”
Alçay said the flamingos had chosen a space away from people on Salt Lake.
“Salt Lake is a kind of sanctuary for flamingos. This sanctuary is on the southern part of the lake and away from people. Flamingos are fed by ‘artemia salina’ living in the lake. When hatching there, they find food from small lakes in the nearby environment. This is also the deepest part of the lake. While flamingos that come to the lake in winter hatch according to the water level, thousands of flamingo chicks are born on this lake.”
He said Eskil Municipality was closely following Salt Lake and determined that thousands of flamingos would also hatch this year.
21,000 chicks born in 2015
Burçin Feran of the Nature Association - Gediz Delta Project said Salt Lake, one of the 302 most important natural environments in Turkey, was home to Turkey’s flamingos along with Gediz Delta.
The association regularly counts the number of flamingos in the Salt Lake every year, Feran said.
“We regularly document the number of the birds in colonies and the situation of the lake with aerial photographs. Nearly 21,000 flamingos hatched in Salt Lake in 2015,” she said.
Feran said the reproduction numbers of flamingos was generally tied to the water level in the lake.
“In the years when the water level falls in the lake, the number of flamingos that hatch there falls, too, and vice versa. In 2005, 5,000 flamingos hatched. This number was 4,000 in 2007, 14,644 in 2009, 18,418 in 2011, 20,275 in 2012, 22,000 in 2013 and 2,650 in 2014. As well as rainfall, the use of water in the Konya Kapalı Basin also affects Salt Lake. Because of incorrect water policies in the basin, an amount of water equal in size to Salt Lake is wasted every year.”
Feran said the evaporation of Salt Lake was a serious threat to flamingos and their chicks.