Izmir, July30 () - Flora and fauna that include everything from fish to fowl to humans might be wilting under the soaring summer temperatures in Turkey, but the birds at the İzmir Bird Sanctuary remain comfortable thanks to a round-the-clock effort to water their habitat.
“Our electrical pump is constantly working,” said Recai Önal, the head of the Menemen Left Coast Irrigation Union, which is helping water the area along with the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ).
The sanctuary is home to 290 of the 470 types of birds known to reside in Turkey, but the creatures have been threatened by extreme heat that has reached 40 degrees Celsius in the shade at noon.
Other organizations have also made efforts to help the birds, long a draw for nature photographers and bird-watchers, survive the intense heat.
Önal stressed the importance of irrigation works for the ecological area. “Besides the agricultural irrigation, we are providing freshwater to the İzmir Bird Sanctuary, which is a place under our responsibility,” he said.
“Also, we are providing 500 liters per second of freshwater to the bird sanctuary from the intersection point of our north and south pipe lines. Water for the Maltepe part of the bird sanctuary comes from the pumps placed by the DSİ. Throughout the winter, we watered the terrain. Hence the amount of water present in the bird sanctuary has reached its highest in the past 20 years,” Önal said.
“Through the collaboration with İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, the Conservation and Development Union of the İzmir Bird Sanctuary (İZKUŞ), the DSİ and our institution, once again this year we didn’t leave our birds bereft of water. We have learned from the mistakes we did in the past and hence in the years to come, we will make use of our experiences. Thanks to the Flamingo Island established by the İzmir Municipality, there is a lot of migration to the bird sanctuary. The number of birds is on the increase,” said Önal.
Meteorological authorities in Turkey have issued a heatwave warning for large sections of the country, particularly the west, centered on Istanbul and İzmir, as well as the southeastern provinces of Şanlıurfa and Batman.