Lake Nakuru is a designated UNESCO Heritage Site due to its high biodiversity and conservation value for a wide range of species, including more than 300 bird species.
This critical Lesser Flamingo habitat has undergone significant environmental change in recent years. In this image taken from a cliff above, we can see dead trees throughout the water caused by the rising water levels in the region.
The influx of water has also led to Lake Nakuru transforming into a nearly freshwater lake, rather than the saline lakes the Lesser Flamingo prefers. Lesser Flamingos require extremely saline lakes (so saline that it is impossible to band them since bands would be corroded!), so even minor changes to water pH have a large impact. On top of this, areas around the National Park are used for intensive agriculture, forestry, and ranching, which affects the quality of the land. These changes have led to the migration of many Lesser Flamingos to other lakes in the East African Rift Valley to follow better conditions.
Join Dr. Bondar as she visits Lake Nakuru and Lake Bogoria, two critical lake habitats for Lesser Flamingos in the East African Rift Valley.
Significant alterations to the environment at Lake Nakuru are just one example of a larger pattern seen across Lesser Flamingo habitats. The convergence of global change and human development has and will continue to create challenges. With such specialized habitats and diets, conserving areas like Lake Nakuru is critical for Lesser Flamingo survival. The species remains listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). However, the incredible efforts of concerned groups and individuals have helped to prevent encroachment on Lesser Flamingo habitats, ensuring the spaces they need to thrive are preserved.
Explore more below to learn about Whooping Cranes and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley!
- IUCN: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22697369/129912906
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/lesfla1/cur/introduction
- BirdLife International: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/lesser-flamingo-phoeniconaias-minor
- UNESCO: https://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/1344/