- Tanzanian authorities have been warned to drop plans to erect a chemical production plan in its Lake Natron as this will not only extinct the region's Lesser Flaming, but also the growing ecotourism trade linked to the birds.
In October this year, leading conservationists from 24 African countries signed a petition opposing the plant, fearing it would extinct 75% of the world's Lesser Flamingo population.
The African Tourism and Travel Association (ATTA) is also deeply concerned about the proposed plant.
“Spectacular flocks of flamingos are one of the major attractions for tourists visiting the Great Rift Valley from all over the world," ATTA Chairman Nigel Vere Nicholl told BirdLife International.
"Given the massive contribution ecotourism makes to the East African economy, it just doesn’t make sense to jeopardise these wonderful birds and this very special and unspoilt place," Nicholl said, fearing the consequences of the development.
The number of tourists visiting Tanzania is expected to rise from 580,000 in 2004 to one million in 2010. Many of tourists have been attracted by Lake Naton's Lesser Flamingos described as “greatest wildlife spectacle on Earth”.
Ecotourism in Tanzania and Kenya worths US $2 billion annually. Also each year tourists spend US $500,000 to visit Lake Natron, the only successful East African nest and breeding ground for Lesser Flamingos.
The enigmatic birds have been attracted by the lake's abundant food, nesting sites and total isolation.
Conservationists said that the world stands to lose a lot should Flamingo birds go into extinction. They have since been mounting a global campaign against the proposed chemical plant.
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