Conservation

WORLD’S FIRST LED ANTI-COLLISION DEVICES TO SAVE NIGHT FLYING BIRDS

Posted on the 18th July 2014

The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife & Energy Programme (EWT-WEP), in partnership with Eskom and Preformed Line Products, broke new ground near Kroonstad by installing the world’s first nocturnal light emitting diode (LED) mitigation device. These devices are a combination of the basic bird flapper and bird flight diverter concepts, but are equipped with a solar panel which powers flashing LED lights throughout the night to try and prevent mortalities of bird species flying at night.

"Through the years Eskom and the EWT have worked together to reduce the number of wildlife mortalities on Eskom infrastructure across South Africa. One of the major impacts identified over the years was the collision of water birds, such as Flamingos, with power lines. Interestingly it has been observed and recorded that these bird species often fly at dawn, dusk, and after dark, making them prone to collision with power lines. The Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus and Lesser Flamingo Phoenicopterus minor are found in most regions of South Africa and Eastern Southern Africa, and both of these species are considered near threatened. Often larger birds such as these will collide with power line infrastructure by simply not being able to see the obstacle in their flight path," commented Constant Hoogstad, Manager of the EWT-WEP.

One of the areas where Greater Flamingos were noted to be affected by power lines was on a farm called Rooihoogte, which is 30km outside Kroonstad. Over the past three years more than 50 Flamingos had collided with already marked power lines on this property. The line was fitted with diurnal anti-collision devices but they proved to be ineffective.

"The EWT, Eskom, Preformed Line Products, and one of the local concerned landowners, collaborated to fit the first ever nocturnal LED solar charged device on power lines. This was a truly a historic day for the Eskom EWT partnership as we are extremely optimistic about the success of this LED nocturnal anti-collision device and the site will now be monitored to establish its effectiveness. If the devices prove to be successful we hope to integrate them in other parts of the country in order to continue to reduce the mortality rate of large water birds," concluded Hoogstad.

For further information about the Eskom EWT partnership and our work with the LED nocturnal anti-collision devices please contact Constant Hoogstad on constant@ewt.org.za. Thanks to Eskom and their dedicated team, Performed Line Products and Rooihoogte Game Farm for their assistance and support on this project.

Contact: Constant Hoogstad
Project Coordinator
Wildlife and Energy Programme
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600
constanth@ewt.org.za

and

Rachel Serakwana
Communications Assistant
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Tel: +27 11 372 3600
rachels@ewt.org.za


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