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Flamingo census reveals stable population in Galapagos; future monitoring planned

October 19, 2015

Galapagos flamingos

Due to increased rainfall — one of the effects of the “El Niño” climate phenomenon — the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) is planning a study to determine how the population of flamingos in the Islands may be impacted by this event. Data will be collected through three monitoring surveys to be conducted before, during, and following the climate event.
The initial assessment was made on October 17-18, 2015, when nearly 50 GNPD rangers conducted a partial census of the flamingos in 19 of the 42 registered lagoons Santa Cruz, Isabela and Floreana Islands that are known habitats of flamingos in Galapagos. The rangers collected data on the number of birds, the nests of other birds, and water levels and turbidity in the lagoons.

According to scientists with the GNPD, this study will determine whether the presence of rains in the Archipelago affects the salinity of the ponds, which affects the presence of food for these birds and fosters the necessary conditions for them to nest.
“Under optimum conditions of salinity and food, flamingos will nest and remain in place without migrating any further,” said Christian Sevilla, head of the Preservation and Restoration of Island Ecosystems.
Kléber Aguilar, head of Conservation of Native Species, said that the census will demonstrate any possible effects of El Niño on the population of these migratory birds.
The partial census showed that the population of flamingos in the Archipelago is currently stable, with 342 birds in 19 ponds and lakes of the Galapagos National Park that were evaluated during the census.

Translated and reprinted with permission from the Galapagos National Park Directorate.

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