Cuba Headlines

Cuba News, Breaking News, Articles and Daily Information

Cuban scientists contribute to the development of Ornithology
Every year by the end of February, large flocks of pink flamingos, the most beautiful of the world, arrived from far away to the mouth of the Rio Maximo. This event marks the beginning of a new cycle of nesting and ringing takes place in the northern coast of the province of Camaguey.

This year things have changed because after the persistent rains in this territory, the greatest nesting place of the Phoenicopterus ruber ruber (intense pink flamingo) in Cuba and the Caribbean postponed the carrying out of this field technique, which is the most important event in the entire community of Mola, the most interrelated settlement with this animal refuge.

«Normally, nesting concludes in June and the ringing process begins right away. However, today we have new eggs from only 10 days ago, after 28,000 new flamingos were born (by the filing of this report) to 55,000 couples settled here, » said Jose Morales Leal (Fefo), director of the Rio Maximo National Animal Refuge, which was recently presented with the National Environment Award.

The researcher analyzed the impact of the intense May rains on a great number of eggs, «an element that had an influence on the flamingos return journey to their colonies to replace what was lost.»

The new experience postponed the ringing process for August and was detrimental to reproduction, but not for the vitality of the flamingo population because «the rain fall in the Rio Maximos basin "the most intense in the last 20 years" is the food provision for the further development of the new flamingos, which assures them stability and strength,» Morales said.

The community was not satisfied with the delay imposed by these ardent pink flamingos, and when Fefo gave the order, at the dawn of passed August 16, a large group of people went up river to attract the 300 birds that will then be tagged.

For the first time, they had to walk for four kilometers, «the high level of the water did not allow a nearer ringing, » said the renowned biologist.

With the collaboration of the inhabitants of that rural settling and the participation of the members of the National Center of Protected Areas (AP after its abbreviation in Spanish), an association in Camaguey and Ciego de Avila provinces, wildlife specialists in that territory and from the Zapata Swamp National Park carried out the second individual identification of pink flamingos, the most revealing species of those spending the night in the shelter, which received the honor title of Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site).

The ring placed on the leg of a flamingo is made of a synthetic material, known as PVC in Spanish, which does not harm the animal and whose color for Cuba is orange intense, with codes of letters and numbers that allows to make thousands of combinations during the life of the bird.

Among the goals of the important management is the monitoring of this subspecies in Cuba and other regions of the Caribbean and the knowledge of its moves, aspects of their ecological and biological life, reproductive age, composition of its populations and lifetime.

Among the most significant results of this technique, applied to pink flamingos a little bit more than a year ago, are the 17 reports made about the presence of this bird in countries such as the Dutch Antilles, Venezuela, Mexico and Bahamas, which proved that our ruber ruber belongs to a population with genetic links and exchanges with species from these regions of the Caribbean, and it was proved the arrival on the Maximo River from relatives from Mexico bearing yellow rings.

The bird ringing has also allowed to check that Cuban flamingos migrate in their first stage of life to other zones of the country such as the Zapata swamp, the south coast of Camaguey and the north coast of Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara which allows them to generate predictions and to establish conservation and protection plans in the areas of flamingo in Cuba.

The shelter, with nearly 30 years of work in the conservation and protection of natural resources, is outstanding for its work of environmental education with the community. Regarding this, Loidy Vazquez Ramos, the technical vice-director, said to Juventud Rebelde newspapers that the residents of Mola see bird ringing as a main annual event. «People wait for it and take part as if it were a big family celebration, » she said.

Source: By Yahili Hernández Porto, Juventud Rebelde

Related News