Flamingoes flee as Lake Nakuru water level rises

Flamingoes at Lake Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Flamingoes at Lake Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Flamingoes, the main attraction at Lake Nakuru National Park, have fled due to increased water levels.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has raised the alarm after observing “unusual flow of water” from rivers feeding the lake, which appears on Unesco’s World Heritage list of protected sites due to its bird life.

“Flamingoes are our biggest attraction and the heavy rains are affecting their ecosystem,” said the park senior warden Samuel Tokore.

More than the usual amount of water dilutes the lake’s alkaline level, which supports the algae that flamingoes feed on.

Besides flamingoes, the excessive water has also affected the vast habitat including the acacia woodland, which is now submerged in water forcing buffaloes and other animals to migrate to higher grounds.

The park is also home to black rhinos, zebras, hippos and tree-climbing lions. It is however, the flamingoes that paint the lakeshore pink, that draw big visitor numbers of bird watchers.

The park attracts more than 35,000 people monthly, making it one of the most visited of Kenya’s national parks and reserves. The road network at the 188 square kilometre park has also been damaged by the ongoing rains.

The decision by the government to ban plastic bags has seen tremendous reduction of the harmful waste in Lake Nakuru. This comes as a big relief  as Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS)  has been manually collecting more than 500kg of plastic waste from Nakuru Town every week.