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CONSERVING NATURE'S LITTLE SECRETS SINCE 1961

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Anegada Western Ponds - Roseate West Indian Flamingo

 

British Virgin Islands

History

The Anegada Salt Ponds and limestone cays contain endemic species of flora and fauna, and are also an important site for migratory birds and the roseate or greater flamingo. Traditionally the salt ponds were curry mole fisheries and salt production sites.

Many years ago the roseate or greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) could be found throughout the salt ponds of Anegada. The Anegada flock was known to inhabit the ponds in large numbers, possibly by the tens of thousands! One of the ponds even bears the name of the bird - Flamingo Pond. Flamingos were regarded as a food source and historically hunted by peoples living on the Puerto Rico Bank for food and for their colourful feathers and as an exotic pet. By the 1960's, when large-scale development of Anegada was initiated, there were but a few older birds remaining. The remnants did not function as a breeding colony and eventually died or flew off.

 

With its ponds, Anegada is a natural Habitat for flamingos; the saline ponds and marshes are home to the larve, crustaceans, and small molucs that comprise the flamingo’s diet. In 1992, with the help of the Bermuda Aquarium, Natural History Museum and Zoo and Dr. Jarecki and the Guana Island Science Sanctuary, NPTVI was able to reintroduce 18/22 birds, balancing the ecosystem of Anegada's many salt ponds.

 

In 1995, the project got a major boost when five chicks were hatched. An even bigger milestone was accomplished when the 5 birds completed a significant portion of their life cycle. They hatched a new generation of chicks in June 1997.

 

Many watched the flock throughout the next several years as they moved around the connected salt ponds. NPT wardens on Anegada, collected data and kept an eye on courtship displays and building of nesting mounds. Unfortunately for these pink birds, visitors, were also keeping an eye on the flock. Visitors would frequently muck right into the salt ponds for a picture of what had rapidly become wild birds. Nesting mounds were often trampled on by humans and as a result abandoned by the birds. To continue to protect this species, these beautiful creatures can be viewed from the lookout platform south Flamingo Pond.

The bird stands 140 cm tall. The females tend to be a paler pink and smaller than the males.

Park Information

Established: 1999

Area: 2, 569.9 acres

Photos

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