The notorious power line from Port Sudan to the Red Sea coast, which is estimated to have electrocuted hundreds and perhaps thousands of endangered Egyptian vultures called neophron percnopterus since its construction in the 1950s, has finally been switched off.
This decisive action by the Sudanese government and power company officials follows after years of work by Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB-BirdLife), and BirdLife’s UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB) project, in partnership with local NGO, the Sudanese Wildlife Society (SWS).
Switching off the “killer line” happened after SWS President Professor Ibrahim Hashim conducted a MSB-funded presentation to senior government and power company representatives in March 2013. By September, work had begun on the new and fully insulated distribution line that runs parallel to the existing line.
News that such power line was finally shut down came after the MSB team visited the Sudanese Transmission Electricity Co. Ltd. to introduce MSB project’s guidance on birds and power lines alone the Rift Valley/Red Sea Flyway.
Hashim expressed his joy at the decision, saying, “Egyptian Vultures and other raptors can now perch safely on this part of their migration.”
For his part, MSB regional project director Osama Alnouri praised the efforts of the Bulgarian BirdLife team and the rest of its partners for their persistent efforts in solving this age-old issue.
“This great achievement is the cumulative result of the work of BirdLife’s Bulgarian Partner in investigating and quantifying the threat to the Egyptian Vulture and other soaring birds, and the targeted efforts of the MSB project and the Sudanese Wildlife Society,” Alnouri said.
“This is also through the commitment of the directors of Sudan’s Electricity Distribution and Transmission companies to solving this long-standing problem. We would also like to thank the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife and the Wildlife Conservation General Administration for their support,” he added.
Nada Tosheva, executive-director of the BSPB commented, “This marvelous success of the BirdLife Partner in Bulgaria and the Migratory Soaring Birds project clearly demonstrates that for efficient conservation of long-distance migrants, like Egyptian Vultures and juvenile Eastern Imperial Eagles, the trans-continental collaboration within BirdLife network is crucial.”
“This great news shows the effectiveness of how the BirdLife Partnership works together with governments and industry. Acting locally on a global scale enables us to tackle huge issues like migratory bird conservation. Many congratulations to all involved,” said Dr. Marco Lambertini, BirdLife’s chief executive.
This article was first published in www.birdlife.org. BirdLife International is a global Partnership of independent organisations working together as one for nature and people.
Haribon Foundation is the BirdLife partner in the Philippines.