Thursday, December 1, 2011
Night flying costs flamingos their lives.
AHMEDABAD: For some winged visitors a journey of over 2,000 km from Siberia comes to a deadly end just when they swoop in to land in the shallow waters of Kutch. Electric wires char their feathers and even result in death.
This phenomenon has been documented in a study 'Flamingo mortality due to collision with high tension electric wires in Gujarat' by Anika Tere, now with MS University and B M Parasarya of Agriculture University Anand.
The study published in the last week of November 2011, revealed that the flamingoes who are known to fly at night and in low light collide with the near invisible overhead wires because of the negligible reaction time to make evasive manoeuvres.
The study, also concluded that freshly dead flamingos were found in the morning hours suggesting that these overhead wires are not visible at night and in the dark hours of late evenings or early morning.
The study also points out that along the international border, the presence of the electrified barbed wire fence and the electricity lines powering the fence as well as villages on the frontiers make formidable obstructions to the birds. The study takes note of a soldier's narration of how flamingos get trapped in the electric fence on the international border.
The study further reveals that compared to the large population of flamingos and other factors causing mortality, the mortality caused by collision with high tension wires is low.
The duo noted that bird deaths due to collision with power lines at temporary and permanent sites should not be neglected and management plans are required to be drawn up to reduce these threats.
The study reveals that the incidences of collision with utility structures in these parts of Gujarat have remained unnoticed. Flamingos visiting the Rann of Kutch during their breeding season are exposed to such wires only for a short period of the year, however, at other feeding sites such as salt pans and the sewage ponds of urban areas like Bhavnagar and Jamnagar they continuously face the risk of collision as they spend more time there.
* Technical modifications of such high tension wires will help in regulating collision.
* Wrap wires with colored radium tags, at least in collision sensitive areas. This would make the wires visible during day time and shine during the night hours also. Hence, a marking device could limit the collision threat by improving visibility.
* Power lines should be removed from the sites of frequent collisions and the routes can be altered or underground cables can be laid.
* Maintain critical distance between the wires and the areas inhabited by birds.
* Research and monitoring should be implemented by state governments and electricity companies, in consultation with relevant experts.
* A cooperative effort is required among biologists, authorities within the state forest department and electricity board engineers.
* A further detailed case study can be done to evaluate examples of conflict resolution, case law, or trends.