Flamingos are the latest wildlife to flourish during lockdown

Flamingos have increased by thousands in an Albanian lagoon (Picture: AP/AFP)

The coronavirus pandemic is allowing flamingo populations to thrive amid a newfound tranquility in Albania’s lagoons, as local workers down tools as part of restrictions.

Several species of birds are flourishing in the coastal Narta Lagoon, by the Adriatic Sea, with local officials and residents saying the flamingo population has increased by about 3,000.

Bird watchers have also spotted more pelicans, herons and other species this spring at the 10-square-mile lagoon, which is 90 miles south of Tirana, the capital.

As tourists remain at home, boats are docked and a nearby saltworks halts operations, the reduction in human activity has caused birds to flock to the lagoon, say experts.

Locals believe the populations has grown by around 3,000 (Picture: AFP)

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The flamingos are the latest example of the environment thriving during the pandemic, with many industries grinding to a halt along with a severe reduction in air polluting public transport and traffic.

Air pollution has improved across Europe, with research by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) showing a marked drop in nitrogen dioxide – a harmful gas released when fossil fuels are burnt.

Striking pictures have also shown how smog has cleared in the skies of cities across the world.

In Venice, Dolphins have returned during the pandemic due to clearer waters. A spokesperson for the mayoral office said: ‘The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom.’

Regional biodiversity expert, Nexhip Hysolokaj, said flamingos are ‘a very delicate species,’ and not having vehicles or visitors around suits them as they prefer a more tranquil existence.

A reduction in tourism, boats and factories grinding to a halt mean the birds have found tranquility on the lagoon (Picture: AP)
The lagoon is considered an important waterfowl (Picture: AFP)
Flamingos are a ‘very delicate’ species say experts (Picture: AFP)

‘They have found food and calmness, and that has likely helped them increase the numbers,’ Mr Hysolokaj added.

Researchers plan to study the flamingos to see if the coronavirus-induced calm is conducive to establishing the lagoon as a place where they can nest and breed.

Dhimiter Konomi, part of a local group that manages commercial fishing in Narta Lagoon, said: ‘Isn’t that beautiful to see fearless flamingos all around?’

He said a lagoon crowded with feathered life is a treasure that could boost tourism.

But Mr Hysolokaj is less keen to attract conventional tourists to the lagoon, which is part of a protected landscape of sand dunes, wetlands, islands and beaches that supports diverse fauna as well as birds.

Some are keen for tourism in the area, while others say it would drive the flamingoes away again (Picture: AP)
The Lagoon is considered the ‘lung’ of nearby city Vlora (Picture: AP)

Narta Lagoon is considered an important waterfowl habitat that flamingos returned to in recent years after a long absence.

He described the lagoon as the ‘lung’ of Vlora, the nearest city.

Mr Hysolokaj said: ‘There should be a stable but alternative tourism, naturally letting campers come, beaches used, with environmental biking, educational paths and more because it’s so close to Vlora.’

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