Salt Lake welcomes flamingo chicks

Salt Lake welcomes flamingo chicks

Salt Lake welcomes flamingo chicks

Tens of thousands of flamingos hatching from their eggs in Turkey’s Salt Lake, one of the world’s premier nesting grounds for the colorful species, offers a dazzling visual feast.

But the flamingos are having meagre grounds to call their home, as another lake has completely dried up due to climate change.

The flamingos choose their breeding sites carefully, and especially favor the southern part of Salt Lake, which is located on the outskirts of Eskil in the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray.

The Salt Lake, located some 150 kilometers from the capital Ankara, spans 1,665 square kilometers, and is one of the largest hyper-saline lakes in the world.

Throngs of flamingo chicks emerging from their eggs have turned the area of stunning untouched nature into a “flamingo heaven.”

Özge Balkız, Biological Diversity Protection Program coordinator at the Nature Protection Center in the capital Ankara, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that the Salt Lake is a wetland of great importance for flamingos in the vicinity of the Mediterranean and North Africa.

“Some years over 20,000 chicks hatch from their eggs in Salt Lake,” she said, adding that the area is important as it is untouched by human activity and protected.

“There are many other lakes around where the flamingos can feed themselves,” she said.

Noting that the number of flamingos nesting in the area changes each year due to the lake’s water level, she added: “The flamingos’ breeding success is mostly based on the water level of the lake.”

Flamingos’ lake dried up

Another important nestling area for flamingos in the Lakes Region in the Mediterranean region, Akgöl Lake has been completely dried up. The karst lake has turned into a white desert.

Burdur, Salda, Akgöl, Acıgöl and Yarışlı are among the most important living spaces for birds in the region. In recent years, due to climate change, wild agricultural watering, illegal drillings, mine pits and small lake projects, which prevent water flow into their resources, the region is rapidly losing water.

Flamingos are not seen in Burdur Lake anymore. Burdur Lake also suffers from more than 50 mine pits around it.

Serdar Tekin, a villager, said that Akgöl was designed as a settlement for Bulgarian migrants many years ago, adding: “This is why the lake was emptied through a hole. But winter rainfalls filled the lake again and the settlement plan was cancelled. The lake did not reach its former level after this work.”

He said that it was completely dried up in recent years, and added, “Rainfalls were good until three-five years ago. This year there is no fall. Thousands of flamingos used to come to the lake every year but not now.”