Pink Flamingos, once a delight to tourists visiting Kenya, are back in the country after eight years of absence.
The birds – which were the Nakuru National Park’s biggest draw – have been spotted foraging for food on Lake Nakuru recently by visitors.
Eight years ago, the pink flamingos left the parks due to rising water levels. Their disappearance triggered a drop in visitor numbers at the Park.
Now, their return has rekindled hopes of a gradual rebound in an area heavily reliant on tourists for employment and revenues. Already Caroline Mwebia, the park’s tourism warden, says the number of visits is increasing.
Flamingos eat insect larvae and algae that give them their pink hue. High water levels shrink the birds’ ideal breeding and feeding grounds.
When Nakuru Lake first rose, Mwebia said, flamingos left for nearby lakes like Bogoria and Baringo whose waters were shallower.
But heavy rains in recent years have also flooded those lakes, forcing the birds to return to Nakuru, where they are such an intrinsic attraction that the street leading up to the park is decorated with flamingo-shaped lamp posts.