Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Flamingo deaths: Power firm's firewall fails.

Himanshu Kaushik, TNN Dec 4, 2011, 04.03AM IST
AHMEDABAD: State forest officials have found that reflectors, installed by Gujarat Energy Transmission Company (Getco) on its high tension wires, do not help flamingos avoid being electrocuted. The forest department kept a close watch on the movement of the birds on Friday night and concluded that burying the power cables underground was the only way to save the winged visitors.
Getco had on Friday put reflectors on supply wires so that the exotic birds could see the power lines and avoid collision. The Gujarat Energy Transmission Company (Getco) began taking corrective measures after The Times of India reported about the death of scores of these birds in the Khadir region of the Greater Rann of Kutch.
On Saturday, the forest department team led by chief conservator of forest D K Sharma, along with Getco staff, got reflectors installed on ropes running parallel to the high tension wires.
The forest department also had long strips of cellophane papers put up along the high tension wires.
"This measure proved to be more effective than using reflectors alone. The rattling noise and the movement of the cellophane papers kept the birds away. We will again keep a watch on Saturday night," said Sharma.
"We saw that wooden sticks which we were carrying were more effective then the reflectors. The birds were coming very close to the high tension wires with reflectors," said the forest department officer who was on night patrolling.
Sharma said, "After getting the night report, we have come to the conclusion that laying the cables underground is the only solution. I will write to the chief wildlife warden stating the same."
According to the report, the reflectors at many places had come close to each other and were not at regular intervals and the birds nearly hit the wires.
The forest department had on Thursday asked Getco to insulate the cables or bury them. The orders were issued after TOI reported that 400 flamingos had been electrocuted in the past 10 days along the lines which were electrified in March this year. The Siberian birds had started coming into the region in September.

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