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Growing population and deforestation threatens Lake Nakuru

Oct 27, 2015 Lake Nakuru in Kenya is home to some of the world’s most majestic wildlife. The lake, which is one of three shallow lakes around Africa’s Great Rift Valley, is also home to Lake Nakuru National Park.

Despite its lush vegetation, the Lake’s existence has in recent years been threatened by the rapid urbanization in the nearby town of Nakuru.

According to UNESCO, the park, which is home to hundreds of bird species including flamingos, is under threat.

Speaking on the bird population, deputy park warden, Maureen Musimbi said:

“We have several importance of this park and one of them is that it is a bird watchers paradise, and it’s known for its millions of flamingos. Right now because of the level of water and more fresh water coming in, the number of flamingos has gone down.”

The population growth in Nakuru and in Kenya as a whole has also led to deforestation in the area in recent decades.

The growing deforestation has also led to floods, which is bad business for lakes.

According to officials, a 2012 flood had expanded the shallow lake considerably, upsetting the chemical balance that is behind its ecosystem.  The unusual amount of water diluted the alkaline level supporting the algae that flamingos feed on.

Christine Mkumzi, a research scientist at the park, said:

“Flamingos feed on algae and algae are productive at some specific alkalinity levels beyond which the productivity will not be well. So you find that, when the waters are diluted, the productivity of algae is low and it is what flamingos feed on, so the consequences are that, the flamingos will migrate and go look for some areas where they can get more food.”

Mkumzi also mentioned that sewage as an issue affecting the lake, given the population growth of  Nakuru.

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