No right-minded animal would dare step into Lake Natron of Tanzania. Its lethal waters are only 3 meters deep, but it’s capable of eating out the life of any warm-blooded thing that immerses itself in its depths. The calcified stone corpses of its victims washed out by the lakefront are a horrific thing to behold.

With an alkalinity between pH 9 and pH 10, the waters of Lake Natron is highly corrosive. The volcanic sediments in the lake originate from the nearby Great Rift Valley, and water temperature reaches up to 60 degrees Celsius. The only creatures that survive in its depths are the alkaline tilapia (Alcolapia latilabris) and cyanobacteria (Spirulina), which gives its pinkish red pigmentation.

However, this deadly lake is the only place in Eastern Africa where three quarters of the world’s Lesser Flamingo population breeds. These pink flamingos live on the abundant supply of cyanobacteria, and the lake’s isolated location and toxicity to predators make it the perfect place for them to build their nests. They only come around seasonally, when salt sediments accumulate all over the lake creating islands on which the birds can safely nest. Nonetheless, flamingos are still at high risk staying amidst Lake Natron’s fatal waters.

 

LESSER FLAMINGO
bp24Photo via http://www.eorc.jaxa.jp/

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Photo by Michael Fay Calci

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