NICOSIA, Cyprus, March 17 (UPI) — Unusually high water levels have led to a record number of flamingos arriving on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, wildlife officials said.
Wildlife biologist Nicos Kassinis told the Cyprus Times lakes spilling over their shores were attracting the birds.
“We had around 6,000 in January, 3,000 in February, and though we do not have the figures yet, we expect around 1,500 this month,” he said.
However, the high water levels have created a deadly problem for the birds around a salt lake in southern Larnaca, Kassinis said.
The water has encroached over land that was once used for clay pigeon shooting and is widely littered with lead shot.
So far, 35 flamingos have died, and Kassinis said their livers showed lead concentrations several times the toxic level.
As far as a remedy, Game Director Pantelis Hadjiyerou said it wasn’t feasible.
“I do not think that cleaning will be appropriate, because the destruction to the ecology from the cleaning would be worse than the effects of the lead that is there,” he said.
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