The Enlightened Traveller has been sponsoring Great Flamingos or Phoenicopterus roseus since it opened its own wings and started to fly ten years ago.
As part of our commitment to actively preserving the environment and all who live within her, it seemed only natural to adopt two of these beautiful and graceful birds. The flamingo is, after all, an emblem of the French Mediterranean in general and Camargue in particular – an area we so much love.Below you can:
- Learn about the Flamingo, and
- Sponsor a Flamingo yourself.
Flamingos live in wetlands, like the Camargue, that are threatened by industrial, agricultural and tourist development. They are a flagship species in the struggle for the conservation of these rich and unique ecosystems.
Greater Flamingos are relatively numerous in the Mediterranean, but their fragile breeding grounds are few and far between. The Camargue is one of only eight locations in Europe and the only one in France. The Flamingo ’ s existence is thus threatened. Furthermore, the bird remains something of an enigma to biologists and questions remain to be answered about their choice of breeding ground and how long they live – ours are both nine years of age, whilst some individuals have been seen more than 300 times over a 30-year period!
Movement patterns differ greatly between individual birds. Some cross the Mediterranean while others are largely sedentary. There are two main flight-paths out of The Camargue:
1.South-east, to Italy, Sardinia or Turkey and beyond, or
2.South-west down to the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco, Mauritania or Senegal.
By observing banded flamingos, ornithologists can discover:
•at what age birds commence breeding;
•how frequently they nest and with what success, and
•whether they are loyal to one site.
Sponsoring a Flamingo
Ornithologists at the Tour du Valat in The Camargue began banding chicks in 1977 and about 800 chicks are banded annually. Italian, Spanish and Turkish ornithologists cooperate with the Tour du Valat in this Mediterranean-wide project. To date, 40,000 chicks have been banded and there have been 450,000 sightings of the birds in 19 Mediterranean and West African countries as far south as Guinea- Bissau.
Unfortunately, there is a paucity of observers in the southern Mediterranean and a real need to purchase more of the somewhat expensive optical equipment necessary to read band codes and consequently capture accurately the sought-after data. By opting to adopt a flamingo you will help resolve both of these problems.
Since 2005, it is possible to support a flamingo born in either France, Italy or Spain and the annual subscription rate is 50 euros per bird. To find out more about the scheme we invite you to visit the Interactive Atlas of the Greater flamingos at:
© The Enlightened Traveller 2017
Click to visit The French Hiker’s Guide to Holidaying in the Hexagon and France self-guided walking, trails, trips, places & themes.