Mar 9, 2009

Increase in bird deaths caused by power lines

A Recent increase in bird deaths caused by power lines has raised a great concern here at Moholoholo. In the last 4 weeks we have found 2 Marabou Storks, 1 Cape Vulture and 2 Hadeda Ibises, all killed by collisions with power lines!! These are the corpses which we have found on one area of our farm.  We are, therefore, forced to ask the question– ‘How many more deaths are occurring every day which we do not know about?’ How many lives are lost, which go unnoticed? 
We believe this recent increase in deaths is due to the new configuration of power lines in the Limpopo Province.  Most of the power lines around this area used to be of horizontal configuration, meaning that all the cables were the same height above the ground. When looking at the power lines from the side, you would, therefore, only be able to see one cable/strand. Recently many of the power lines in the area have been reconfigured to a vertical position, which means that looking from the side 3 full cables, are visible one above the other.  Obviously this increases the ‘risk area’ for birds which fly by the lines.  The frightening prospect is that the birds we have found were merely those found on Moholoholo itself, within one month, around a newly altered power line!!
These line configurations were erected without informing our centre, and they are situated very close to our vulture restaurant.  We have spent the last month begging for these to be altered back to its original configuration, and have been told it would take another 6 months to arrange, that is if it gets re-arranged.  Imagine the death toll after 6 months!!!!  The worst news is that some of these birds are on the endangered list!
With power lines being altered all over this area, we have urged Telkom to re-consider the change and to take note how many birds are dying in areas like Kruger Park for one?  Who is watching out for these occurrences?  A few years back, we were told by Eskom that every time they work on lines in the park they find a great number of dead birds surrounding the lines!!  Imagine how many more are being killed now!
This increase has caused such concern at the Rehabilitation Centre, that we would like to urge members of the public to keep their eyes open and report any dead birds found near power lines.  These newly configured power lines will pose a greater risk for many of our beautiful bird species in the area.  It is an issue which we must keep an eye on, and which we cannot allow to get out of hand!! 
Please support us in our investigations!! 
Contact us on 015 79 55 236
If possible ask to speak to Brian Jones or Corrie van Wyk