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On November 18th in Budapest, BIOM participated at the Birds and Wires Conference organized by MAVIR and Herman Ottó Institute. It was the sixth in a series of conferences focusing on the protection of birds against mortality caused by power lines.

MAVIR is the Independent Transmission Operator Company in Hungary and the Herman Ottó Institute is an expert body of the Ministry of Agriculture in charge of agriculture as well as nature and environmental protection.

This conference is the result of an agreement signed in 2008 between MAVIR, MME’s (BirdLife Hungary) and the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture. The signatories to this agreement have pledged that by 2020 there will be a significant reduction of bird fatalities on the electrical grid. This agreement is a very good example of cooperation between non-governmental organizations, the government and public companies.

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At the conference, projects were presented on bird protection from electrocution and collision with the electrical grid both in Hungary and in other European countries. We had a chance to see the presentation from colleagues from South Africa, a country with exceptional biodiversity where the power grid does not represent a danger only for birds but also for large mammals (elephants, giraffes, rhinos), monkeys and snakes.

During the conference another cooperation agreement was signed, this time between the MME, MAVIR and the Herman Ottó Institute.

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Bird fatalities on the electrical grid can pose a big problem larger birds such as raptors, vultures, owls and waterfowl, but for uninterrupted distribution of electrical energy as well, because electrocutions can cause blackouts in the distribution network. The Croatian operator of the distribution network, HEP ODS has recently started an initiative to tackle this problem systematically, so we hope that Croatia will soon follow in Hungary’s footsteps for the mutual benefit of wild birds and the electrical grid.