Characters: Flora, Flavio, Flynn, Flo, Uncle Willy
A family of Lesser Flamingos is flying to their breeding ground at Lake Natron in Tanzania.
Flynn: Hey Dad! Are we there yet? My wings are tired from all this flapping.
Flo: And I’m hungry. As in, I could eat an entire lake of blue-green algae all by myself.
Flynn: Yeah, right.
Flo: I could!
Flynn: Yeah, right.
Flo: I could!
Flavio: Kids, just settle down! We’ll be at Lake Natron before you know it.
Flo: Why can’t we just stop now? (points) Look, there’s a really cool lake right there we could call home!
Flynn: Yeah! She’s right. If we start heading down now, we could make a real impact with an awesome splash landing!
Flora: Flynn and Flo aren’t serious, are they, Flavio? Could our very own offspring not understand what fantastically fussy creatures we flamingos are?
Flora: Have we failed in our fundamental job of teaching them how to avoid the threat of extinction?! Have we not instilled in them the importance of preservation—
Flavio: Hold on! Hold on! Kids, you’re worrying your mother and me.
Flynn and Flo: (grumbling) For something new and different.
Flavio: So, Flynn and Flo, why do you think we’re moving to Lake Natron?
Flynn: Because we can?
Flo: Because you and Mom like it there. It’s where you met. And where we were born.
Flavio: Well, all of those things are true. But there’s so much more to the story.
Flora: We couldn’t just plunk down in any old habitat and be happy and healthy.
Flavio: The conditions at Lake Natron are optimal for birds like us to breed.
Flora: (with a dramatic sigh) Lovely freshwater springs that flow into the salt lake so we can drink and wash up!
Flavio: Perfect mud for making perfect nests!
Flora: Private nesting sites that every new flamingo mama needs! Imagine trying to relax when there are intruders nearby!
Flavio: Honey, I think the kids are old enough now to hear about what happened at Lake Magadi.
Flora: Oh dear! Such a sad story. But I think you’re right. I’ll call my brother. (yells) William! William T. Flamingo! Come flap with us.
Uncle Willy: At your service, Sis. What’s going on? Hi, Flavio! Hi, kids!
Flora: Flavio and I think it’s time for your niece and nephew to hear about what happened in 1962.
Uncle Willy: Oh, dark days. Terrible times. You really think you kids are up for this story?
Flynn: We’re not babies!
Flo: Yeah, we’ve been nailing our splash landings for, like, ever!
Uncle Willy: Okay. Well, it was a long time ago, 1962 to be exact. There were rains, huge rains, and our traditional nesting sites on Lake Natron flooded. Your aunt and I had no choice—
Flynn: Aunt Winifred?
Flo: Don’t interrupt!
Uncle Willy: Yes, your Aunt Winifred. She and I moved to Lake Magadi and built a lovely nest in the nesting site and your aunt laid a precious egg. Before long, our baby hatched—
Flynn: Was that our—?
Uncle Willy: But then more rains came and the nesting grounds flooded with very salty water. There was a soda ash factory nearby and it limited the flow of fresh water into the lake. So our beautiful boy— (overcome with emotion)
Flavio: Thick bracelets of salt formed around his ankles. The same thing happened to many, many chicks.
Flynn: But how could they—?
Uncle Willy: One day, Aunt Winifred and I came back from feeding and he was gone.
Flavio: That was a time of great sorrow for us and many other flamingo families. It’s a source of deep sadness to this day.
Flynn: (sadly) He was our cousin. Our cousin we never met.
Uncle Willy: Yes. Yes, that was Winston.
Flora: So, except for that one fateful year, Lake Natron is where our family has always and will always go to breed.
Flavio: Where life is safe and peaceful—free from destruction.
Flynn: Hey! Is that it? That beautiful lake down there? (pointing)
Flo: Come on, everyone! Let’s show them how awesome a perfect splash landing can be!
Flynn: Going down!