Istanbul, Apirl 24 () - Turkey’s third largest city of İzmir will host migrating pelicans on a specially constructed island, the second such sanctuary in the region after an island for flamingos was built in 2012.
İzmir Metropolitan Municipality Mayor and head of the Conservation and Development Union of İzmir Bird Paradise Aziz Kocaoğlu said an island on the Fishery of Homa in İzmir’s bird sanctuary would be constructed for the pelicans.
Speaking at a meeting about the latest developments at the bird sanctuary, Kocaoğlu said an artificial island for pelicans would be established, following an island that had been built previously for flamingos.
The world’s largest artificial flamingo island was created in İzmir’s bird sanctuary, covering an area of 6,440 square meters, in 2012.
Artificial flamingos and fake eggs were placed in nests on the island when it first opened, in hopes of attracting flamingos. The initial goal of the flamingo island was to enable up to 12,000 flamingos to incubate there when established. In 2014, more than 7,000 flamingos were born on the island, while the total population numbered some 30,000.
The İzmir Directorate General of the Water and Sewage System’s (İZSU), operating under the metropolitan municipality is conducting work to increase the level of water in the Fishery of Homa, to increase fish production. Tunnels are being dug to deepen the fishery, while the walls on the northern part of the fishery, where fish have escaped, are being strengthened.
İZSU aims to form artificial islets for the birds that come to the region with the soil taken from the dredging facilities of the fishery.
Kocaoğlu said with the Tundra swan and Eurasian river warbler species coming in the bird sanctuary this year, the number of species in the sanctuary has risen to 292. The white-tailed eagle, the largest eagle living in Turkey, has also been seen among the birds coming to the region.
Salt Lake (Tuz Gölü), which provides much of Turkey’s salt but is currently at risk of drying out, in Central Anatolia was home to the largest flamingo colony in Turkey and among the Mediterranean countries, but the area has been losing its position as the amount of water evaporating from the lake has been excessive.
Nature Association General Director Engin Yılmaz had said the number of hatching flamingos in Salt Lake was 22,000 in 2013 but had dropped to 2,650 in 2014.
Kocaoğlu was named among the “Top 10 mayors in the world” for 2014, in the Top 10 Mayors of the World 2014 ranking organized by the City Mayors Foundation’s World Mayor Project since 2004, an international think tank working on urban affairs.