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Explore Lake Nakuru, Kenya's Wildlife Oasis

Lake Nakuru in Kenya is one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. It is part of the Rift Valley lakes in East Africa, which vary significantly in saltiness and altitude. Despite its salty water, which limits aquatic and plant life diversity, Lake Nakuru is known for its remarkable wildlife, particularly its bird species.

The lake is famous for hosting over 100 bird species, including storks, spoonbills, and African fish eagles. These species rely on the lake as an essential feeding site during their nesting seasons. Due to the hypersaline environment, the lake sustained no fish species. However, in 1953, a salt-tolerant fish species of Tilapia was introduced to the lake. The species had to be reintroduced a couple of times since the lake went through a cycle of drying up and reflooding in the following years. The introduction of fish resulted in an increase in fish-eating bird species.

Along with birds, six species of phytoplankton have been recorded in this lake. The most common is the tiny blue-green alga called spirulina platensis. This alga occurs in vast numbers, turning the water a dark green and forming a slimy texture. This phytoplankton species is the foundation of Lake Nakuru’s food web. Five species of zooplankton, four species of water boatmen, midge larvae, and calanoid copepod from the rest of this lake's aquatic animal life. Together, the marine species in Lake Nakuru provide food for several dozen bird species – the most notable being flamingos.

Flamingos, especially the Lesser Flamingo, thrive in the lake by feeding on protein-rich blue-green algae. The high concentration of algae allows these birds to sustain their large populations. In some lakes, they consume more than 60 tons of algae every day! With its unique ecological characteristics and its important role in supporting diverse bird populations, Lake Nakuru remains an active tourist attraction and a vital habitat for many species.

[Source: 100 Great Wonders Of The World]

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