Turkey’s Lake Tuz dries up due to climate change, farming

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For centuries, Lake Tuz in central Turkey has hosted huge colonies of flamingos that migrate and breed there when the weather is warm, feeding on algae in the lake’s shallow waters.

This summer, however, a heart-wrenching scene replaced the usual splendid sunset images of the birds captured by wildlife photographer Fahri Tunc. Carcasses of flamingo hatchlings and adults scattered across the cracked, dried-up lake bed.

The 1,665 square kilometer (643 square mile) lake — Turkey’s second-largest lake and home to several bird species — has entirely receded this year.

Experts say Lake Tuz (Salt Lake in Turkish) is a victim of climate change-induced drought, which has hit the region hard, and decades of harmful agricultural policies that exhausted the underground water supply. “There were about 5,000 young flamingos.—AN

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