Eskom installing the world-first solar powered nocturnal bird anti-collision device. Pic credit: Eskom
Eskom installing the world-first solar powered nocturnal bird anti-collision device. Pic credit: Eskom

In South Africa, state-owned power utility Eskom announced that its powerlines situated below the Kransberg vulture colony in Limpopo are now declared bird “friendly”.

Since 1996, the utility together with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), have been working tirelessly to mitigate the effects that powerlines may impose on birdlife, especially on South Africa’s vulture population.

“The latest example of a site mitigated was yesterday where Eskom had to hire a helicopter to assist in changing power lines below the Kransberg vulture colony in Limpopo from bird “unfriendly” to bird “friendly”,” the utility said in statement.

Powerlines: Birds under threat

According to Eskom, South Africa’s vultures are faced with various  threats, including poisoning, persecution, drowning in farm reservoirs, food shortages, loss of suitable habitat and the exploitation via the muti trade.

To boost their efforts, Eskom works with other organisations such as the Bird Life South Africa, Middelpunt Wetland Trust, and Vulpro to avoid or mitigate this impact.

Installing “safety” devices

Together with EWT, the utility have developed, tested and installed mitigation devices in attempts to reduce birdlife mortalities.

These include bird flappers, bird flight diverter spirals, bird guards, raptor protectors and the nocturnal “OWL” device, which caters for nocturnal flying birds.

Over the past 19 years, Eskom has installed over 1,124 high incident sites with mitigation devices.