Tanzanians against Lake Natron destruction

This video is called Tanzania Flamingo population threatened by industrial project.

From BirdLife:

Natron community vows to protect the lake and its flamingos


Villagers around Tanzania’s Lake Natron have vowed to protect the lake and its treasure of Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor from industrial development, pointing out that their own future depends on the sustainable use of the lake.

BirdLife’s Tanzanian Partner – the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania (WCST) – has put forward an alternative to the environmentally destructive soda ash extraction plant proposed for the lake, calling instead for its unmatched tourism potential to be developed, and for the people of Lake Natron to be enabled to benefit from the income generated.

Three-quarters of the world’s Lesser Flamingo population lives in East Africa, and Lake Natron is by far their most important breeding site. In 2007, the Indian-based multinational company, Lake Natron Resources Ltd., proposed to build a major soda ash extraction plant to exploit the very alkaline water of the lake.

Wildlife tourism could prevent destruction of Lake Natron flamingos: here.

Celebrating Natron’s Flamingos with action: here.

Lake Natron has won the top Blue Globe Award in the first World Wetlands Network Globe Awards: here.

10 thoughts on “Tanzanians against Lake Natron destruction

  1. Saving a beautiful flamingo sanctuary from extinction

    Published on 05/11/2009


    From the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, the shoreline of Lake Elementaita looks like a desert surrounding a small patch of water.

    The western and eastern shores of the lake hold little patches of water from hot springs while the main basin of one of Rift Valley’s smallest lakes is turning into a dust bowl.

    One gets the impression that they can walk right across the remaining muddy patch that stretches several kilometres.

    When strong winds blow, a whirlwind of grey dust sweeps right across the lake whose water levels have declined to less than half a metre deep.

    Not even water from the recent rains pounding Nakuru and its environs seem to have made a difference on the lake.

    Thousand of flamingos that used to line its shores, giving them a pink hue, have migrated elsewhere as the lake’s water level has declined to its lowest in 20 years.

    Water diversion

    Environmental experts are blaming the situation on diversion of water by farmers from three rivers that used to flow into it, and siltation as vegetation around it has been cleared by recurrent droughts.

    But this situation could reverse if an intensive campaign by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and National Museums of Kenya (NMK) to have Elementaita, together with lakes Nakuru and Bogoria declared World Heritage Sites, becomes reality.

    The plan to save the lake is good news not only to conservationists, but also hoteliers around the lake and, unwittingly, flamingos and pelicans that dot the shores attracting tourists.

    There are four tourist hotels along its shores while a five-star hotel is expected to come up at the nearby Soysambu Conservancy.

    The manager in charge of wildlife and conservation at Soysambu Conservancy, Charles Muthui, said: “It was a beautiful site when the lake had water and flamingos congregated on its shores. The sunset reflection of the pink birds is an amazing sight and tourists like it.”

    The campaign to have the lake declared a World Heritage Site has intensified and this will increase its chances for survival, stakeholders say.

    First, the lake has to be declared a protected area and a management plan for it put in place.


    KWS and NMK recently conducted a sensitisation workshop for stakeholders and landowners living around the lake on the importance of their plan for Elementaita.

    The KWS Assistant Director in charge of Conventions and Biotechnology James Njogu said plans were at an advanced stage to have the lake gazetted as a protected area.

    He said KWS and the community would be involved in the conservation of the water body so that they can appreciate the effort. “This will ensure abstraction of water upstream is managed to ensure the three rivers flow into the lake with minimal interruption,” he said.

    Dr Njogu said rivers Mereroni, Kariandusi and Mbaruku have ceased flowing into the lake because farmers use their water for irrigation upstream.

    He said the lake cannot be declared a World Heritage Site if it is not a protected area with a management plan in place.

    He said it was a requirement by Unesco that an area must be a protected area and have a management plan before it can be submitted for inscription on the World Heritage List.

    Kenya’s Representative to Unesco World Heritage Committee, Dr George Abungu, said Lake Nakuru and Bogoria were already protected, but only Lake Elementaita had pending formality.

    Management plan

    He said Unesco could only nominate Lake Elementaita if it had a management plan that will ensure its conservation and survival.

    He said the process to have the lake attain the status of the other two would speed up its conservation.

    “A dossier for nomination for the three lakes will be presented to Unesco in February, next year,” he said.

    During the sensitisation workshop, representatives of people living around Lake Nakuru echoed their concerns about the dwindling water in the lake.

    Muthui said they had formed an association, Great Lake Elementaita Conservation Association to save the lake.

    A representative of the local community, Mary Wanjiku, said they had been educated on the importance of conserving the lake, but were yet to put in place measures to ensure river waters flow into the lake.

    Wanjiku said they had formed the Water Users Association for the three rivers through the Water Resource Management Association (Warma).

    She said through Warma, they have come up with ideas to construct big water tanks with funds from Warma to store water that will be distributed to different farms for irrigation.

    Ms Wanjiku said water was being wasted through haphazard diversions.



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