23 February 2014 12:09

The town's popular pink mascot - the flamingo - has only visited Larnaca salt lake erratically this year due to dry weather conditions.
Although the flamingos have been on the island since the end of last year, they have concentrated on Akrotiri salt lake where conditions are more favourable for them, visiting Larnaca sporadically the few times rainfall has filled the lake.
Research Coordinator for Birdlife Cyprus, Martin Hellicar, says that there hasn't been enough food for them in Larnaca this year, which has kept them away.
"Conditions at Larnaca salt lake do not appear to have been good for brine shrimp productivity this year, which has meant poor feeding for the shrimp-loving flamingos. The lack of rain recently has probably made things worse, by increasing the saltiness and making conditions even worse for the shrimps."   
Until last week, the flamingos were absent from Larnaca but made an appearance after two days of rain. But even so, there have been considerably less of them than other years, as Martin explains.
"Numbers of flamingos at our salt lakes - and at Larnaca salt lake in particular - have declined rapidly since the start of January. There are maybe 200 flamingos at Larnaca salt lake at the moment, and about twice that number at Akrotiri. Whereas in early January there were 2,000 flamingos at Larnaca and many more than that at Akrotiri, with around 8,000 birds."
With weather forecasts predicting that winter is behind us and spring is firmly here, the flamingos are not likely to stay for much longer, although Martin says that they are adaptable creatures with a keen sense of when conditions are right.
"If we have any more rain, things could change for the better and the flamingos could be back - these magnificent birds are great wanderers and have a knack for turning up at lakes very soon after conditions become suitable."
Larnaca salt lake is the second largest salt lake in Cyprus after the Limassol salt lake and measures 2.2 square km.
The flamingos are a significant part of the town's identity, a major tourist attraction, as well as its mascot.
 


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