A senior Turkish academic from Aegean University has warned that flamingos and Dalmatian pelicans face a risk of extinction in the bird national park in the western city of İzmir because of inadequate preservation measures.
“The flamingos are becoming extinct in this national park that has harbored 245 species of birds and where 68 species of birds have incubated,” said Professor Mehmet Sıkı, of the biology department within the Faculty of Science.
Sıkı said reproduction islands have been eroding every year because of destruction by waves in the Izmir bird paradise, which is the second station for the birds’ reproduction. “An island where flamingos used to reproduce two decades ago has disappeared today,” he said.
Sıkı drew attention to constant reductions in the number of flamingos’ nests at the bird paradise. “This year, a mid-island is housing 2,340 flamingo nests whereas it harbored 2,945 nests in 2008. So, there is a 20 percent reduction in the number of flamingo nests in the two consecutive years,” he said.
“If this destruction continues as badly as it is now, no flamingo couple will incubate in the bird paradise after five years,” he said.
Sıkı also said homeless dogs are threatening the reproduction of Dalmatian pelicans and flamingos in the national park.
“Homeless dogs have damaged colonial reproduction because they can swim out to incubation islands better than foxes can. They have adversely affected the incubation efforts of these birds because they have eaten baby birds and eggs,” he said.
Sıkı called for an immediate solution to secure the flamingos’ reproduction. “Izmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu, who is also the chairman of the Bird Paradise Conversation and Development Union, held joint meetings with bird experts and scientists seeking a solution to prevent extinction. A report was submitted to build a 6,000-square-meter island to secure the reproduction efforts of 18,000 to 24,000 flamingos but there has been no progress in this initiative, Sıkı said.