Another successful operation for the Tour de Valat scientific team: over 800 chicks were ringed this year thanks to the help of environment professionals and a great many volunteers who came along on 4 August 2010. They were all keen to take part in the annual event organised by the Tour de Valat, the Camargue Regional Natural Park, and the French Coastal Protection Agency, with support from the Salins Group.
In a ritual that has been repeated every year since 1977 (with the exception of 2007, when the flamingos did not reproduce and no ringing took place), over 200 people gathered first thing in the morning near the Fangassier lagoon to take part in the Greater flamingo ringing operation. The different teams took up their posts in silence and in the dark, surrounding the chicks’ crèche and driving them into a pen. Once this delicate stage was accomplished, each chick was assigned to a team member to be ringed, weighed and measured, and then released into the lagoon.
In just a few hours, the teams had ringed 800 chicks, which can now be monitored across the Mediterranean. The resulting mine of information on migration patterns, reproduction, life span, and feeding habits will be used to further knowledge of the species, improve the Tour de Valat’s Greater flamingo scientific programme, and adopt conservation measures best suited to protecting the species in the Mediterranean Basin and beyond.
The media also attended the event to let the general public know about the operation. The regional daily newspaper La Provence devoted an entire page to the event (see opposite) and the France 3 television channel broadcasted a report during its evening news programme.