About 5,000 baby and adult flamingos were found dead on a dried part of Lake Tuz in the central Turkish province of Konya over the past week. And the search continues…
The lake – the second largest in Turkey and one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world – is among the favorite habitat of migratory animals and has long been a hatching ground for flamingos.
Though it is shallow and gets little precipitation throughout the year, its salty nature is conducive to the nesting of migratory birds.
However, the ongoing drought has dried up most of the lake, making it difficult for flamingos to find food.
Lake Tuz had been a paradise for flamingos, but now it has turned into a nightmare. The water receded for a stretch of about 10 kilometers (6 miles). There is neither water nor living birds. There are only carcasses that dot the lake’s parts in the Cihanbeyli district of Konya.
More than 5,000 flamingos dead
Bird watchers say every year, 5,000 to 10,000 flamingos are born during the hatching season at Lake Tuz. So far only 5,000 have hatched. And from these, most have died because of the current drought.
Irrigation is also a problem. There are water canals feeding the lake, but villagers block them to divert water to their fields. The lake already has a low level of water, and blocking the canals only accelerates its death.
Meanwhile, wildlife experts are investigating the flamingo mass die-off.
Water and food crisis awaits Turkey within the next decade
A serious water and drought crisis await Turkey, but the country acts like it has rich water resources.
Temperatures are steadily increasing in the country, leading to significant drops in water resources. The dry season has been lingering in the inner Anatolian region where Konya is located as well as in eastern Anatolia since 2020.
The two regions received very low precipitation over the past year – around 350 millimeters (14 inches) – and said the situation was particularly dire for agriculture.
Crops failed to grow due to lack of rainfall. River beds are also suffering due to heavy pollution. Always more farmers are using underground water due to lack of rainfall.
In some places where the water was once extracted from a depth of 20 meters, you now have to go down 200 meters.
Professor Murat Türkeş says: “Our calculation shows 60% of lands, except for the Black Sea region and parts of southern Turkey, have a yearly shortage of water. It is obvious that we will have a serious water crisis in the next ten years.” [Daily Sabah]