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Eskom
Research and Development  
2 March 2017

Eskom considers wildlife welfare

South African power utility, Eskom, states that its partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has finally yielded results following three years of research.

On Wednesday, Eskom together with EWT launched the Bird Detection System (BDS), an initiative aimed at minimising threats to birds from electricity infrastructure.

The BDS is a concept that was designed in South Africa with the aim of better understanding and therefore minimising the threat that energy infrastructure poses to birds, the company said.

The system is currently on trial in De Aar in the Northern Cape Province, an area highly impacted by bird mortalities.

Eskom group executive for transmission, risk and sustainability, Thava Govender, commented: “The needs of birds and other species must be taken into consideration. Actions to minimise the threats of energy production on birds is important to Eskom, and as an organisation, we are happy to be in partnership with The Endangered Wildlife Trust to help drive this initiative.”

Eskom wildlife initiative – solar powered

According to the power utility, the BDS is solar powered and is the first real-time system to transmit data (such as video clips or photos) directly to a user’s cell phone or data bank. The information is also uploaded straight to a cloud server for easy retrieval.

This enables team members to count the birds, identify species, and observe behaviour.

The software and settings can also be configured remotely, eliminating the need for field maintenance, while the camera has an hourly self-check system and reboots every 24 hours.

Eskom further underlined that BDS is fully adaptable to user requirements, and can also be used during environmental impact assessments as a tool for specialists conducting surveys.

“This device will enable us to gather information about the time of day or night these collisions occur, what the weather conditions are like at the time, and the behaviour of the bird right before colliding with a power line,” EWT wildlife and energy programme manager, Constant Hoogstad, said.

Hoogstad added: “This will give us far greater insight into what causes these collisions and allow us to find more effective ways to reduce them.”

 

Featured image: National Audubon Society

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