Unlikely Avian Instagram Stars
The flamingos which inhabit a private resort in Aruba have become unlikely social media stars. The 5-star Renaissance Hotel owns a private Island where guests can spend the day. It is home to a flock of flamingos! These beautiful birds are usually wary of people but the six birds living at the resort have become used to the guests. Their cooperative behaviour has sparked a trend for flamingo selfies!
One Leg Selfies
The flamingos certainly make for colourful features in travellers’ snaps and seem untroubled by the succession of tourists sidling up to them with their smartphones. The birds, which are famous for standing on one leg to conserve body heat, have mastered the perfect poses! Many of the resort’s guests stand on one leg themselves when posing for their pictures. Predictable but fun!
Feeding the Flamingos
The resort’s owners encourage the guests to feed the birds and provide a food vending machine but campaign groups say that tourists should not interact with the flamingos. Philip Mansbridge, UK Director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw), said: 'Wildlife selfies are just selfish - especially if the animals in question may not be really living wild and cannot get away."
The resort have not said whether or not the birds are able to fly.
Visiting the Island
If you would like to visit the flamingos, you will probably have to book a room at the expensive resort. Day visitors to the island are permitted but only when the hotel isn’t fully booked. Day passes sell out quickly and cost $100 which seems rather a lot for a day at the beach! Mind you, the island is 40-acre oasis with two beaches (one adult-only), a restaurant, a spa and a nature walk so it is a stunning place to visit. In addition to the flamingos, the island is home to several iguanas.
The flamingos of Aruba are not the first animals in the Caribbean to become internet sensations. In recent years swimming pigs have caused a stir in the Bahamas. The pigs can be seen splashing about in the crystal clear water at Big Major Cay. They are thought to have been introduced by visiting sailors as a potential source of food but the seaman never returned. That left the pigs needing to find food themselves and they soon realised where they could get it.
The clever pigs worked out that the crews of passing yachts regularly dump excess food into the sea and so they go swimming looking for their next meal.! That must be quite a sight!