One of my favorite puzzles pieces I've completed in "A Never Ending Story" so far is the "Fanciful Flamingo". I've always loved flamingos, their flamboyance, and of course lovely pinkness, haha, who doesn't love a pink bird, especially one with a crown!
A lot of the animals featured in my epic jigsaw puzzle painting are endangered, however none of the 6 species of flamingos are specifically endangered at this time, although all of them are at risk, and some are threatened and/or vulnerable to becoming endangered. There actually used to be around 10 species of flamingos, with several becoming extinct, which is a warning to all of us to preserve and conserve this beautiful bird.
"Fanciful Flamingo" is a part of my epic puzzle painting, all about animals and protecting them in our interconnected world. The picture above is what I have completed so far.
As with almost all species, the main threat to Flamingos is loss of habitat due to human activity and expansion. ~
- According to IUCN’s Red List, none of the species of flamingo are listed as “Endangered.” However, the lesser flamingo, the Chilean flamingo, and the Puna flamingo are listed as “Near Threatened.
- Conservation Efforts:
- In 1978, the Flamingo Specialist Group was established to study, monitor, and help conserve the world’s flamingo populations. The group works with the IUCN to monitor and survey wild flamingoes. They also develop conservation action plans for species that may be threatened.
- In the specific case of the Andean flamingo, which considered the rarest of the flamingo species, local conservation has been established to protect the species. Chile established a national flamingo reserve around one of the lakes used by the birds for breeding colonies and is taking steps to protect other lakes for the flamingos.
- The Andean flamingo is listed as “Vulnerable.” ~ (source).
Whenever we see a species become vulnerable or threatened it is time to act immediately to protect them and get them back to a status of least threatened.
Another very real, and current threat to all bird species, including Flamingos, is the Bird Flu, or Avian flu that is currently running rampant in animal farms around the world, where millions of birds are infected and being killed in slaughterhouses. The chart below, from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), highlights the severity of the Bird Flu that is currently decimating bird populations around the world, from farmed birds to wild birds, and this is only stats for the United States.
"Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) viruses have been detected in U.S. wild aquatic birds, commercial poultry and backyard or hobbyist flocks beginning in January 2022." (source).
How can we stop the spread of dire diseases such as the Avian Bird Flu? One of the simplest and most effective ways is to go vegan. Which for most people doesn't mean go cold turkey (pun intended :), and stop eating all animal products immediately. If you can, bravo! But, realistically it is easier to transition at a pace that can be sustained over the long term, and cause less anxiety by starting out slow. I have some tips below on starting a transition to a less dependent diet on animal products that we can all follow, along with a fun little tip on using less single use plastics.
What are some things we can do personally, and on a regular basis to minimize the threat to all species? Here are a couple of easy tips to follow to live a more sustainable, non-threatening lifestyle for our planet:
1. Limit the amount of animal products consumed on a daily basis. For example, maybe select one day a week to start with and make it meat and dairy free, say..."Meatless Monday". There are so many great vegan options for food out now, and just eating whole foods itself is easy enough, that you don't even feel like you are missing out! And once you get used to cooking vegan meals, you can start to incorporate them more often :) And maybe find some great local vegan restaurants to treat yourself to every now and then to expand your vegan palette.
2. Try to avoid single use plastics whenever possible, such as store bought water bottles; instead be in the habit of bringing your own reusable bottle and filling it with tap water from home before leaving on any outings. For instance when I travel/fly I carry my pink "flamingo" "S'well" stainless steel bottle that I've had for 10 year. i take it in empty through security, and then fill it up at a water fountain once past security and have plenty of water for my flight. Saves the planet from one less plastic bottle, and saves me a little pocket change, win-win!