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The problem of raptor electrocution in Asia: case studies from Mongolia and China


We report a large number of raptors electrocuted on recently erected electricity distribution lines in the open landscapes of the Mongolian steppe and Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, China. Upland Buzzards Buteo hemilasius and Saker Falcons Falco cherrug, characteristic raptors of these bioregions, were among those found to be electrocuted. Raptor electrocution was a consequence of poorly designed hardware configurations on anchor poles along surveyed lines on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and, additionally, on line poles in the Mongolian steppe. The design flaws were upright pin-insulators on earthed crossarms and the use of jump wires that passed over crossarms via pin insulators on anchor poles. Targeted mitigation of anchor poles could significantly reduce the incidence of electrocution on the lines surveyed on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, whilst all poles on the lines surveyed in the Mongolian steppe require remediation to make them safe for raptors. The Mongolian steppe and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau are bioregions that hold the largest breeding and wintering populations of the globally threatened Saker Falcon. The existing and growing network of dangerous electricity distribution lines in these regions may potentially impact the Saker Falcon population, thus we suggest that preventative and/or mitigation measures are implemented.

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K Bevanger . (1998) Biological and conservation aspects of bird mortality caused by electricity power lines: a review. Biol. Conserv. 86: 6776.

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F. Guil , M. Fernández-Olalla , R. Moreno-Opo , I. Mosqueda , M. E. Gómez , A. Aranda , A. Arredondo , J. Guzmán , J. Oria , L. M. González and A Margalida . (2011) Minimising mortality in endangered raptors due to power lines: the importance of spatial aggregation to optimize the application of mitigation measures. PLoS ONE 6(11): e28212. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028212

R. N. Lehman , P. L. Kennedy and J. A Savidge . (2007) The state of the art in raptor electrocution research: a global review. Biol. Conserv. 136: 159174.

A. Tintó , J. Real and S Manosa . (2010) Predicting and correcting electrocution of birds in Mediterranean areas. J. Wildl. Manage. 74: 18521862

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Bird Conservation International
  • ISSN: 0959-2709
  • EISSN: 1474-0001
  • URL: /core/journals/bird-conservation-international
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