Update: development versus Africa’s flamingos

Posted by Laura Grant on May 6, 2008
Posted in Conservation

The Sunday Times reports that a R2-billion development is planned for Kamfers Dam in the Northern Cape town of Kimberley, the site of the biggest breeding colony of lesser flamingos in South Africa. It is one of only four breeding colonies for this species of bird in the whole of Africa. Environmentalists fear the new development will destroy the breeding colony, which appears to have benefited greatly from the recent building of an artificial island.

Meanwhile, in Tanzania, a state firm has rejected the concerns of environmentalists that a soda ash plant planned for Lake Natron will damage the soda lake’s fragile ecosystem, Reuters reports. Three quarters of the world’s lesser flamingos breed on Lake Natron.

A spokesman for Tanzania’s state-run National Development Corporation (NDC), which is building the plant with an Indian partner, Tata Chemicals, said there were plans to shift the plant 35km from the lakeshore, which would help preserve the birds. But conservationists fear the plant’s operations may kill the algae on which the flamingos feed. The conservationists say that the lesser flamingo could become extinct in five years if its habitat is destroyed, Reuters reports.

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