3 May 2013 - Andean Flamingos bring life and colour
to the marshes, lagoons, estuaries and lakes they inhabit.
These large and highly gregarious birds are able to live
in water bodies located at 4,000 metres above sea level.
Flamingos (also known as Parihuanas) are some of the largest
birds found at such high altitudes. Parihuanas are considered
habitat specialists, have specific eating habits and may
change their distribution and abundance depending on seasonal
changes in habitat and food quality. Extreme environmental
events, such as droughts, along with habitat loss caused
by human activities, can cause a large decrease in the number
of flamingos, which currently are considered a globally
There are six living species of flamingos
in the world, of these, three occur in Peru: the Chilean
flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), the Andean
flamingo (Phoenicopterus andinus) and the James
flamingo (Phoenicopterus jamesi). The last two
are mainly restricted to the Andes. The Chilean flamingo
is internationally considered "Near Threatened".
The Andean Flamingo and the James Flamingo are classified
as "Vulnerable" by the IUCN and are therefore
included in Appendix I (the strictest protection) of the
Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and in CITES Appendix
Peru, information on distribution and ecology is available
only for 22 study sites, out of more than 900 lakes in the
south of the country’s Andes that may be used by Parihuanas,
and should therefore be evaluated. Research and monitoring
programmes are essential for developing conservation plans
and protecting the species effectively.
Aware of the importance of increasing our
understanding of flamingos and their habitats, CMS through
its Small Grants Programme is funding the project “Distribution
and abundance of Andean Flamingos in Peru”, proposed
by the General Directorate of Forestry and Wildlife of the
Ministry of Agriculture of Peru, in collaboration with the
Centre for Ornithology and Biodiversity (CORBIDI) and the
Center for the Study and Promotion of Development (DESCO).
The organization Fondo para las Américas was also
instrumental to make this project a reality.
The project seeks to establish data on
the distribution and abundance of flamingos, effectively
answering the questions where are they? and how many of
them are there? This is the basic information required to
develop national conservation plans.
activities will be implemented in August 2013 (austral winter
and dry season in the highlands), and repeated in February
2014 (austral summer wet season). The 22 known sites will
be reassessed by the Andean Flamingos preservation Group
(GCFA) in Peru (Ministry of Agriculture, CORBIDI and DESCO),
and in line with the main objective of the project, new
locations will be evaluated. These will be selected based
on predictive habitat modelling, which identifies potential
habitat using Geographic Information Systems, a database
of 88 places with historical presence, 900 potential lakes
and the 22 sites identified by GCFA Peru, and bio-climatic
data. In Peru these sites are located mainly in the south,
such as the Lagunas Salinas and Aguada Blanca which are
Ramsar sites, part of a Natural Protected Area and located
in the Arequipa Region and the Parinacochas Lake, in the
Ayacucho Region. In this last site, the GCFA recorded a
total of 2665 flamingos during the last summer census conducted
in February 2013.
The project will substantively contribute
to the implementation of the CMS Memorandum of Understanding
on the Conservation of High Andean Flamingos and their Habitats,
providing data key to support the conservation of flamingos
at the global level.
THE PROJECT OF
During the 2012 round
of the Small Grant Programme a total of 75 applications
was received and 12 projects were selected for funding.
In the coming months each of these projects will be featured
on the CMS website in a new “Project of the Month”
series that will show the activities that are taking place
within each project and the conservation impact on the species
The Small Grant Programme
supports projects that are implemented on the ground with
a strong focus on the conservation of species listed in
the CMS Appendixes. It shows that CMS can really make a
difference when it comes to improving the status of the
species concerned working in close contact with the local
During the period 2012-2014
the Programme is being generously funded by UNEP.