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Mt Kilimanjaro - Trekili Eco Expeditions

The Deadly Lake That Breeds Life

Posted March 26, 2014 | Comments Off

Lake Natron is a rare red gem which glistens in the sunlight under the beating African sun. Temperatures in the lake can reach 140 °F and the water can become almost as alkaline as ammonia making it extremely toxic to most species.

It is located in Northern Tanzania next to the Kenyan border, in between the Serengeti National Park and the Kilimanjaro National Park.

The lake has received a lot of attention over the past few months and that’s because of a photographer called Nick Brandt who came across birds and bats which had been calcified by the high levels of salts and minerals found in the water.

There have been some negative things said about the lake because of the images and it has been portrayed in some media as a very dangerous place. It’s been called a deadly lake because of the effect it has on some wildlife. But despite the lake not supporting much wildlife, there is one breed of flamingo that thrives there. So for this reason we’ve dubbed it the deadly lake that breeds life.

At Lake Natron, Spirulina and Lesser Flamingos are perfectly at home.

lake natron

The Lesser Flamingoes use the lake as their only breeding ground in East Africa and despite there being over 2 million Flamingoes who flock there to breed, they are greatly threatened by those who wish to make profit from the salts and minerals the lake has to offer.

Because of its rare biodiversity, it is now protected by Ramsar, which protects Wetlands of International Importance and the RSPB (along with many other conservation projects) who all keep a close eye on its wildlife.

The Lesser Flamingos build their nests on small islands, surrounded by the water which is toxic to their predators. This helps them protect their young and gives the breed a greater chance of survival, which is rather clever thinking in our book.

The Flamingos feed on the algae rich shores of the lake and enjoy a particular algae that has become popular in the Western health craze called Spirulina. The blue/green algae which also contains red pigments is a vital food source for the pink birds.

the crimson wing flamingos

The mummified creatures that were portrayed in the images were about death caused by the waters of the lake but another couple set out to show the life of the lake in a film called The Crimson Wing – Mysteries of the Flamingo back in 2010.

The film focuses on the flamingos and the biodiversity of the lake, and how humans must work together to help protect this sacred breeding ground of the Lesser Flamingo and its other inhabitants.

You can see the trailer for the film below and read an interview with one of the film makers (Melanie Finn) by clicking link here http://goodfilmguide.co.uk/interview-with-melanie-finn/

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