Pink lake in west Africa

bright pink Lake Natron in Tanzania

Pretty in pink – incredible aerial photographs show a pink-coloured lake inhabited by millions of flamingos.

The waters of Lake Natron, in northern Tanzania, are coloured varying shades of pink. The shallow lake owes its unusual colour to the pink photosynthesising cyanobacteria which populate the water.

The serene-looking lake is in fact one of the harshest environments in the world thanks to its extremely high alkaline content. Water temperatures can reach as high as 60 degrees celsius, meaning the lake supports little wildlife.

The most prominent fauna that Lake Natron is home to is a flock of 2.5 million bright pink flamingos.

Spanish photographer Juan Carlos Muñoz, 52, flew above the wildlife spectacle in a light aircraft to capture these unique pictures.

He said: “It is the most striking lake in the world – I was really impressed by how it looked from the air.

“Under the midday sun the lake glows in a panorama of powerful pink hues. As I flew over I was terrified that the flamingos would take off when they heard the plane.

“It was one of the most exceptional images in my long life as a nature photographer.”

The lake is the only breeding ground for lesser flamingos in West Africa.

The flamingos are drawn to the lake to feed on spirulina, a blue-green algae formed by the cyanobacteria.

The birds build their nests on small islands formed in the lake during the dry season – as the salt content increases, so does the cyanobacteria, and the lake can support more nests.

The lesser flamingo population is threatened because of their reliance on this one breeding ground.

Mr Muñoz of Liendo in Northern Spain, said: “I had initially planned to fly over the lake to take a picture of the salty patterns of the water.

“When I saw the flamingos it was a gift – I immediately decided to make them the main subject of my image.”

The lake is deeply alkaline, with pH levels recorded as high as 10.5 – which is almost as high as ammonia.

The waters of Lake Natron can burn the skin off any animals not adapted to its harsh climate.

More high resolution pictures are available on request. To discuss rates for using pictures and copy, contact news editor Tom Knight on 07815 004413 or tom@medavia.co.uk.

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