21 Mar 2018
The Government of Tanzania has decided against building a soda ash factory on the shores of Lake Natron, thus ending a ten-year struggle of the fate of the waters.
By Margaret Sessa ...
Last week, the conservation world received some extremely good news when the Government of Tanzania decided to abandon plans to construct a soda ash factory at Lake Natron, the most significant breeding site for Lesser Flamingos (Phoeniconaias minor) after becoming aware of the potential impacts. BirdLife International congratulates the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania on the decision, and their commitment to safeguarding flamingos.
“The government move validates our ongoing collaboration to promote ecotourism as a sustainable alternative for local communities at Lake Natron”, said Patricia Zurita, BirdLife International’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). “Through a three-year Darwin-funded project, a long term plan to help coordinate ecotourism as well as boost management capacity is already underway. BirdLife looks forward to continued positive engagement with the Government of Tanzania.”
Located in Northern Tanzania, Lake Natron is the ‘it’ spot for Lesser Flamingos. Although many plants and animals eschew the waters, which frequently reach temperatures above 40° C and are so alkaline as to burn skin, its paradise for flamingos, where the high salinity just means more food. Roughly 75 percent of the world’s Lesser Flamingo are hatched at the lake, and tourists flock to see the incredible ‘pink parade’ that results when flamingos strut around doing their mating dance.