Omar Rocha and his wife, Sol Aguilar, have taken it upon themselves to prevent the extinction of three of the world’s rarest flamingos—the Chilean, James and Andean species— in their native country, Bolivia. The couple traveled to North Carolina where they learned how to care after the delicate eggs and offspring of this scarce breed. Rocha’s research on a lagoon in Bolivia called Laguna Colorada found that 90% of these birds consider it their home. As if the shrinking lake did not already pose a threat to the rare species, indigenous people travel to the lagoon annually to collect flamingo eggs, selecting the fresh ones to eat and discarding the inedible ones containing a developing embryo. To counteract this threat, Rocha is bringing to light the heinous actions of the Bolivian people.
Teaching Bolivians how endangered their local breed of birds have become due to their tradition of pilfering the eggs is Rocha’s way of discouraging people from indulging in this behavior. He plans to transport the eggs with developing gametes to a zoo in La Paz. Because there are hardly any flamingos in Bolivian zoos, Rocha hopes that raising them in their natural environment will bring awareness to the general public. While it is true that man’s activity is to blame for the destruction of these birds, it is safe to say that some, like Rocha, are doing everything they can to reverse the damage. Because of them, there is hope in this Anthropocene for a future era when humanity no longer damages the Earth. They represent the kind of awareness and consciousness that everyone should practice to help the situation in Bolivia and elsewhere in the world.