Flamingos in Albufera. | Matias Rebassa


Last year, the breeding of flamingos in the Albufera Nature Park in Muro was documented for the first time - there were at least two chicks. The director of the park, Matias Rebassa, reports that the number has shot up this year - 40 chicks have so far been recorded.

On the face of it, this sounds like good news, but Rebassa explains: "We've just finished the species count and it seems that it has been a good year for saltwater species (such as sandpipers and flamingos). Their populations are increasing due to salinisation. But on the other hand, those from fresh water and the reedbeds are declining."

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In May last year, a group of adult flamingos appeared to be incubating eggs in a very remote area of the park barely visible to binoculars. After about twenty days they ceased incubating and two chicks were observed.

A question was whether this was a one-off, but the figures for this year leave no doubt. Rebassa says that it is an indication of the gradual salinisation over the past twenty years and which has been accelerated by overexploitation of aquifers and climate change. The salinisation affects the northern part of the wetland in particular.