News: Lake Natron’s Flamingoes

23rd June 2010

The Tanzanian government has been asked to reconsider a proposed soda ash mining project in Lake Natron.

Experts say the project is a threat to the flamingos in Lake Nakuru and other Rift Valley lakes. BirdLife Africa Partnership members and associates from 23 countries meeting in Nairobi warned that the proposal by Tata Chemicals and the Tanzanian government to construct a soda ash extraction plant at the lake in Tanzania would disrupt the breeding of flamingos.
Lake Natron is the World’s most important breeding site for the Lesser Flamingo, a bird listed in the World Conservation Union red list of threatened species.
It accounts for 75 per cent of the world’s lesser flamingos and is the only site in the region where the flamingos have bred for the last 45 years.
Experts say during breeding, flamingos are sensitive to disturbance.
“Regional extinction of the Lesser Flamingo will in turn have far reaching impacts on national economies and the tourism industry in the region,” warned the conservationists. They petitioned the Tanzanian government to reconsider the proposed development, given the potential negative impacts of its implementation.
“We call upon all governments, both in Africa and globally, all organisations concerned, and all people of goodwill who care about biodiversity and the environment and future generations to stand up against the proposed development.”
Concerned that the Environmental Impact Assessment process was not participatory enough, the conservationists called upon Tanzania and Tata Chemicals to ensure due process was followed.

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