At the end of October, a very unusual event occurred in the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge – on Maui, Hawaii.
One of the dams changed color to light pink. Staff at the reserve have been monitoring the water since then. Scientists advise people not to go into the water and drink from it, they write AP News.
After photos of the pink pond appeared on social media, curious visitors flocked to the park.
– We prefer that they come to hear about our mission of preserving native and endangered waterfowl and restoring wetlands. But no, they’re here to look at the pink water, animal sanctuary director Brett Wolf joked to the US news agency.
Drought on Maui may have contributed to the unusual color, AP News writes.
Analysis must be performed
Initially, Wolfe was concerned that the bright pink color was a sign of an algae bloom in the pond, but tests showed that toxic algae was not the cause. Instead, red mite bacteria may be the cause.
They are single-celled organisms that live in bodies of water that contain high levels of salt. The salt content in the Kealia Dam outlet area is currently twice that of normal seawater, AP News writes.
According to Wolf, the laboratory must perform DNA analysis to identify the organism.
Drought may also contribute to worsening the situation. Normally, a stream flows into the pond, raising the water level, but according to Wolf, this hasn’t happened in a long time.
If it rains, the stream can fill and flow, reducing salinity and possibly changing the color of the water.
This may be the reason behind the disappearance of the color, says the director of the animal reserve.
Despite periods of drought and high salinity in the past, none of the employees had ever seen the pond turn pink, and Wolfe doesn’t know why the color is changing now.
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