Andean flamingos in the Atacama desert

Submitted by Jürgen Tenckhoff on Fri, 07/02/2021 - 18:46
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The Andean or yellow-footed flamingos are found in the high altitudes of the South American Andes. It is the only species of flamingo that has yellow-colored feet and legs. The head, neck and wings are pink, the rest of the plumage pale pink to white, the wing tips are black

The pink color of the plumage is due to the ingestion of carotenoids with food. These are mainly found in planktonic algae. The flamingo organism can convert these carotenoids with the help of enzymes in the liver; this creates several pigments, especially canthaxanthin, which is stored in the skin and feathers of adult flamingos. [Wikipedia].

The reflections that these majestic animals create in the calm salt lakes of the Atacama desert are wonderful. Like many animal species, it is threatened by industrial activities such as the extraction of road salt for the USA in the Salar de Atacama, which we did not notice.

Opponents of the growing e-mobility like to hide the traditional salt mining and only speak of its "side product" of lithium production, which due to the growing need for cell phone, computer, watch and car batteries is now stabilizing the labor market in this structurally weak region of Chile contributes.

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Pictures 1: Andean flamingos in the Salar de Atacama