French farmers in the Camargue have a new pest to contend with -- pink flamingos. According to Allan Johnson, resident ornithologist at the 30,000-acre Camargue nature reserve, there are over 7,500 flamingos in the area -- four times more today than two years ago.
Last year, more than 1,000 acres of rice crops were destroyed by the flamingos. Because of extra heavy rains in 1978, the birds left their swamplands habitat and moved en masse into the rice fields.
The Rice Farmers' Association has agreed to prepare an antiflamingo scare campaign. Throughout the six weeks that it takes the rice to grow too high for a flamingo's taste, about 40 people will patrol the rice fields. When the birds come in to feed at dusk they will hopefully be frightened away with explosive sound devices.
But ornithologists explain that the birds are already accustomed to the roar of jet planes in the marshes around Montpellier airport and that they ignore the shouts of tourists who converge on the Camargue every summe r.