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A Pink Flock Makes its Return to Kenyan National Park

Eight years ago, rising water levels in Kenya’s Lake Nakuru drove away the clouds of pink-coloured flamingos that were the park’s biggest draw. Rangers say their disappearance triggered a drop in visitor numbers for the Nakuru National Park. Now they’re back. On a recent visit, flocks of flamingos foraged for food in the lake’s turquoise waters, while others flapped in a sine-wave formation above. A rhinoceros grazed nearby. “With the increase now of the number of flamingos we have started seeing visitors also increasing,” Caroline Mwebia, the park’s tourism warden said. She declined to give visitor numbers and the Kenya Wildlife Service did not return calls seeking comment. But nearly a quarter of a million visitors came in 2011, the last year figures are publicly available for. Flamingos eat insect larvae and algae that gives them their pink hue. High water levels shrink the birds’ ideal breeding and feeding grounds. When Nakuru lake first rose, Mwebia said, flamingos left for nearby lakes like Bogoria and Baringo whose waters were shallower.