Dangerous poles of the electricity distribution network in Northeast Bulgaria are being insulated

The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and Energo-Pro Grid started to insulate the most vulnerable sections of the electricity distribution network in northeastern Bulgaria in order to protect the birds and improve the quality of service.

At the end of 2012, the electricity company and the conservation organization signed a memorandum of cooperation in the framework of the project for conservation of the Saker Falcon in northeastern Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, funded by the LIFE + Programme of the European Union. This was an important, yet a logical step to the benefit of people and birds alike, due to the fact that Energo-Pro Grid is the only electricity company operating in Northeastern Bulgaria, which coincides with the Saker project area. 

"The Saker Falcon is a bird of prey typical of the open steppe regions and its habitats in Europe are lowland steppes, agricultural areas and mountain foothills. In the past, the species inhabited large parts of the country, but recently despite the presence of suitable habitat is found in very few places in Bulgaria " - sais Dr. Peter Yankov, project scientific coordinator. - "One of the biggest risks to those birds is the dangerous electrical poles in the places they inhabit. Probably for this reason in 2012 died a tagged Slovak Saker, Slavka, who had spent in our country more than half a year. With the insulation of the pillars of the 20 kV distribution network in its most dangerous sections in Northeastern Bulgaria, we eliminate a very serious threat preventing the return of the Saker Falcon as a breeding species in Bulgaria. We highly appreciate the willingness of Energo-Pro Grid to cooperate with BSPB in the protection of endangered bird species from the risks associated with the company’s energy infrastructure."

It is well known that one of the biggest threats to raptors and other large birds are power lines. Most often birds find their death on them because of short circuits, especially when they perch on lines from the 20 kV power distribution network. Among the victims are hundreds of white storks annually, as well as individuals of endangered species such as the Saker Falcon, Imperial Eagle, Egyptian Vulture and many more. Meanwhile the damages induced by birds often lead to stopping the electricity supply for entire regions.

The BSPB have collected data on specific cases of bird mortality that allowed the designation of the most vulnerable sections of the distribution network. Thanks to funding from the LIFE + Programme of the European Union within the project "Conservation of the Saker Falcon in northeastern Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia" the BSPB is going to purchase special plastic insulators to secure 600 pillars in the areas of occurrence of this globally threatened species.

In turn, Energy - Pro Grid also undertake certain commitments to resolve bird related issues pertaining to the maintenance and operation of the energy infrastructure. The cooperation between the two organizations is a wonderful example of responsible behavior in favour of a rare species and our common natural heritage.

Photo: Marina Georgieva

Photo: Marina Georgieva

Photo: A. Staneva

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .