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Mossel Bay
21st Aug 2019
Community & Living Nature & Nurture

Pinky the Flamingo

Sometime in September 2018 a Greater Flamingo landed on the estuary of the Great Brak River. Others have arrived before and since then and simply left. However this one, affectionately named Pinky by members of the Conservancy has stayed…why?

We think of flamingos as gregarious in nature, social creatures living within flocks sometimes in the thousands but Pinky is proving to be the exception. When small flocks of flamingo touch down on our estuary and start to filter feed, instead of rushing to join his/her feathered brethren Pinky instead is content to be alone. Often actively seeking the solace that the opposite side of the estuary provides. After about a day or two these flocks usually leave but not Pinky. This blatant anti-social behaviour has caused much speculation amongst Conservancy members and the public. After witnessing this on multiple occasions the moniker of Pinky  the lonely Flamingo was dropped by some only to be replaced with Pinky the melodramatic recluse. Some even have gone as far to speculate that this behaviour was because Pinky is actually part of an elaborate witness protection program. The truth is no one actually knows.

Has Pinky like many other migrants simply decided to stay here because it’s beautiful and safe or will Pinky leave one day or will he/she find a mate? Will the shallowing of our river system due to the deposition of silts exasperated by a poor flow rate positively or negatively affect flamingo numbers in Great Brak? There are a plenty of unanswered questions that revolve around the Great Brak River system, its species’ diversity, general health and future. What we do know is that Pinky the Greater Flamingo represents the fact that we don’t completely understand all the wonders of the natural world and that we should be doing everything in our power to conserve species so that their secrets don’t die with them.

(Photo caption: Pinky the Greater Flamingo. Photographer Mike Bands)

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