From: Sukhdev Chhatbar, Associated Press
Published October 13, 2004 12:00 AM

Scientists Say Food Poisoning Killed at Least 16,000 Pink Flamingoes in Tanzania

ARUSHA, Tanzania — Unusually high levels of toxins in algae may have killed at least 16,000 pink flamingoes nesting near two northeastern Tanzanian lakes between July and August, scientists said in a report.

The toxins in the blue-green algae, the flamingoes' main food, may have built up as water levels fell — and salinity rose — in Lake Manyara and Lake Momela during a drought in the region, said a report prepared by Charles Lugomela, Harish Pratap, and Yunus Mgaya of the University of Dar es Salaam.

The report suggested that wildlife officials monitor the lakes during the rainy and dry seasons to study chemical contents of the water and how they affect the flamingoes.

The report also urged monitoring of human activities, which have tremendous influence on lakes.

"We are taking the situation very seriously and will fully respect the report," Gerald Bigurube, head of the Tanzania National Parks Authority.

The parks service sent samples of the algae to Germany for further tests, and results have not been released.

Lake Manyara is home to about 1.2 million flamingoes

Source: Associated Press

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