Critically Endangered Bird Threatened by Proposed Power Line

December 9, 2016

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Photo Credit: WCS Cambodia

There are fewer than 800 Bengal floricans left in the world. The bird is critically endangered. So a proposed power line in Cambodia planned for the edge of the Tonle Sap Floodplain Protected Landscape (TSFPL) is causing concern.

"With 15 satellite tagged Bengal floricans, we found that the birds migrate across the route of the proposed power line twice each year as they move between their breeding and non-breeding grounds," said Dr. Paul Dolman from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

In 2012, UEA researchers showed that approximately 432 Bengal floricans were found in Cambodia.

Power transmission lines are a particular problem for large, slow flying birds that cannot maneuver easily, such as bustards, storks, cranes, and raptors, all of which use the Tonle Sap floodplain. Bustards, like the Bengal florican, are among the most likely birds to collide with overhead lines, because they have a narrow binocular view when looking ahead.

Simon Mahood, WCS Cambodia's Senior Technical Advisor, said the power line could be re-routed as a precaution. "Bird flight deflectors, disks or spirals that make it easier for the birds to see the power line, could also be fitted along the wires, to reduce the number of birds that would otherwise be killed," he added.

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