Eskom strips estuary power lines, saves birds

2013-11-25 12:17
Birds and power lines at Verlorenvlei estuary. (Photo: Constant Hoogstad)

Birds and power lines at Verlorenvlei estuary. (Photo: Constant Hoogstad)

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Cape Town – The biodiverse Verlorenvlei estuary has been stripped of redundant electrical infrastructure, in a move which is set to reduce bird deaths in the area.

The Verlorenvlei estuary along the west coast of South Africa is an important feeding area for South Africa’s most endangered birds and serves as a sanctuary for over 189 species of birds. Verlorenvlei was proclaimed a Ramsar site in 1991.

“We’ve had quite a lot of incidents where pelicans and flamingos have collided with power lines," project co-ordinator of the Wildlife and Energy Programme for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Constant Hoogstad, told News24.

A section of power line that ran along the edge of Verlorenvlei had been serving unused pump houses.

According to Hoogstad, recent legislation has nullified the use of pump houses as a means of extracting water from the lake, so the lines serving the pumps served no purpose but posed significant risks to birds in the area.

Flappers

Power supplier Eskom has since removed between four and five kilometres of power lines and has fitted up to 20km with bird flight diverters.

“Eskom has put a lot of money and effort into removing the power lines,” Hoogstad said.

Bird flight diverters, also called flappers, make power lines more visible to birds and lower the possibility of collisions.

Hoogstad said recent research has shown that bird mortalities are reduced where flappers are present.

Eskom and the EWT are in a partnership to address wildlife and energy interaction and aim to minimise negative interactions.

The Wildlife and Energy Programme has appealed to all members of the public to report any wildlife and power line related mortalities.

Direct contact person: Constant Hoogstad (constant@ewt.org.za or 082-334-4176)

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Read more on:    ewt  |  eskom  |  cape town  |  energy  |  good news  |  conservation
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