Birds fly away as Anatolia dries out

Half of Turkey's 650,000 acres of wetland have disappeared in the last forty years -- lost wetland equal in size to the Sea of Marmara and 25 times greater than Beyşehir Lake (the nation's largest fresh water lake),

Birds fly away as Anatolia dries out
Half of Turkey's 650,000 acres of wetland have disappeared in the last forty years -- lost wetland equal in size to the Sea of Marmara and 25 times greater than Beyşehir Lake (the nation's largest fresh water lake), according to the data from the World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Turkish Branch, the Nature Association and the Ministry of the Environment and Forestry.

The disappearance of the marshes and wetlands, particularly in the Konya Closed Basin, means that many species of migratory birds no longer visit Turkey.

The Hotamış Marsh in Konya, where 700 tons of rushes were removed in 1994 and 1995, once was home to a number bird species including the cormorant, the tern, ducks and pelicans. However, agricultural irrigation has destroyed the marsh and it shrank from its original size of 4,000 acres to 2,000 in 1990. It covered barely a hundred acres in 1996, and there is no trace of a marsh now. It is bone-dry.

Over 100 bird species used to pass through the 5-million-year-old Lake Meke, in Karapınar. Now, the lake has become a swamp, and birds do not stop there anymore. The Ereğli Marshes, a former avian paradise, covered 9,000 acres in 1982, but have now completely disappeared as a result the construction of dams in the area.

The Eşmekaya Marshland ran to about 4,000 acres until the 1990s, when it withered away as a consequence of failed dam construction. No birds can be seen in the area today. Akşehir and Eber Lakes hosted a variety of birds for many years. These days, they no longer visit Akşehir Lake, which is a mere shadow of itself after its wetlands decreased from 350 square kilometers to a mere 10. Eber Lake has completely disappeared.

The number of bird species at Beyşehir is in constant decline because of the continuing drought and some bird species are no longer found on the lake. A similar decline is also been observed at Lake Tuz, whose area has slumped from 65,000 acres to 32,000. Likewise, the number of bird species is declining at Bolluk Lake, a place which traditionally was home to a wide variety of birdlife. The lake is becoming increasingly polluted and it is expected that avian life will soon disappear. It requires good luck to see a bird at Samsam Lake, whose area has halved from 200 acres to 100 over the last three decades.

Kozanlı Lake, a once renowned habitat for a number of birds, including the flamingo, now covers only 170 acres and growing pollution and erosion threaten its remaining birdlife. Pollution is also the biggest threat to Lake Kulu, where the number of birds nears zero. Suğla Lake -- which once hosted a vast number of birds -- now has none.

Noting that birds first abandon drying wetlands, the representatives of WWF-Turkey said: "We are witnessing the same patterns in Turkey as in other parts of the world. First the birds leave the region and then the people go too. Birds no longer come to a number of wetlands in the Konya Closed Basin. They will soon be followed by the residents."


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Last Mod: 22 Ağustos 2007, 11:43
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