A pond in a nature park on the island of Maui, Hawaii, has been completely pink for several weeks. Unfortunately, the phenomenon is not a good sign.
The ‘Barbie Pond’, which can also be described as purple in combination with the blue sky, is located in the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, a nature park on the coast of Maui. The crazy water has been monitored since October 30.
Bret Wolfe, the park’s manager, initially thought algae caused the pink color. But initial tests showed that this was not the case. Perhaps halobacteria are the culprits. These single-celled organisms thrive in water with high salinity. Currently, the water in Kealia Pond is twice as salty as seawater. A DNA test must still show whether it is actually the halobacteria.
The drought on Maui may be the cause of the excess of these single-celled organisms. Normally the Kealia Pond is supplied with fresh water by the Waikapu Brook, but Wolfe says that hasn’t happened for some time.
It would be the first time that the pond has this color. Volunteers who have been working in the area for 70 years also have no memories of pink water. Yet this is not the first time there has been a drought. It is therefore not clear why the halobacteria are flourishing now.
The phenomenon is already causing an influx of tourists, and photos and videos on social media.
The Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge is an important site for the conservation of the Hawaiian subspecies of the American black-winged stilt and the Hawaiian coot. Moreover, many migratory birds also come to rest during the winter. Wolfe doesn’t think the pink water is harming the birds.
People don’t have access to the water anyway. Due to the exceptional circumstances, there is now an additional warning not to enter the water and not to eat fish caught in this water.