Chile’s National Forestry Service (Conaf) has led an ongoing process to survey all the flamingos that call the north of this vast country home, and so far the news is good: significant trends in population are visible across the board.
According to the study, in the summer of 2013 there were just over 49,000 of the beautiful pink birds in the northern regions of Arica, Parinacota, Antofagasta and Atacama. This research includes the numbers for three different varieties of flamingos, the Chilean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), the James Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) and the Andean Flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) — one of the rarest flamingos in the world.
The figures from 2013 show a 38.9 percent increase in the populations of the three species of the majestic bird since the 1997 — a promising sign that the country’s conservation efforts are having a positive impact.
“Important progress has been made at the national level in terms of in the development of strategies as well as in terms of involving all actors interested in the challenge of conservation, both in the public and private sectors and the associated indigenous communities,” explained Ricardo Moyano, the regional Conaf director for the Antofagasta Region. Example of this are the international simultaneous census of flamingos and the ringing, or tracking, of these species to better understand their movement.”
The flamingos native to Northern Chile make their homes in places that to the layman appear completely inhospitable. For instance, the beautiful birds can be found feeding on microscopic shrimp in the salt flats of the Atacama Desert — the driest place on Earth. In fact, the desert region is home to a national flamingo reserve which has become a popular destination for bird watchers and average tourists alike.