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World record White Stork Donna electrocuted


World record White Stork Donna electrocuted

Belgium, 10 March 2005 - Six years after she was satellite-tagged as a chick, Donna the White Stork has been killed by power lines. Hatched in Belgium, the much-travelled Donna had left her wintering grounds in southern Spain, and died as she reached her breeding site in the Calvados region of France. [1]

Wim Van den Bossche, leader of the Storks Without Borders project, followed Donna's progress for the 2,033 days of her life after she started her first autumn migration. Wim says Donna was the world-record holder in the young science of satellite-tracking birds. "No other bird has been tracked on a daily basis for such a long period. Donna provided us with a mass of unique scientific data." [2]

Donna left Seville in Southern Spain on the 11 February, stopped off near Madrid for ten days, and reached Calvados on the 4 March. The next day local stork specialist Alain Chartier found her dead under power lines near the estuary of the river Seine. Alain says she was in prime breeding condition.

"Electrocution and collision with power lines are the main known causes of death among White Storks," Wim reports. "Along migration routes, up to 59 percent of dead storks and 90 percent of wounded storks examined by researchers have hit wires." Storks can live up to 30 years.

Wim says that "bird-friendly" alterations to power lines can reduce stork mortality. Plastic caps and tubes can be fitted quickly and cheaply to existing pylons, poles and cables, and guidelines are available to ensure that new power lines present the minimum risk to birds. [3].

ENDS

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