Volunteers from Istria and Kvarner are needed to help prevent birds from getting electrocuted

  • 16.11.2023.

Nature lovers from Istria and Kvarner have the opportunity to volunteer to help preserve birds in the sky above Cres. The association Biom is organising a two-day education for volunteers on the electrocution of birds on the island of Cres from December 2 to 3, 2023.

Electrocution, i.e. suffering from electric shock, is one of the most significant causes of mortality for the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) on Cres Island. In addition to Eurasian griffon vultures, other species such as common ravens (Corvus corax), gulls (Laridae), common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus), and common buzzards (Buteo buteo) are also often victims of electrocution. Mortality from electrocution on power grid poles most often affects birds with a larger wingspan, which see the electric poles as potential resting places and often land on them.

The type of electric poles with a small distance between the electric conductors proved to be the most potentially dangerous. With such poles, a bird that lands on a transmission line closes the circuit because it bridges two live conductors with its wings or touches the live conductor and the ground and thus dies.

Reducing the mortality of vultures and other birds from electrocution is being achieved by applying protective measures in key places. In the past few years, HEP Distribution System Operator d.o.o. (HEP ODS) implemented technical measures aimed at protecting birds on more than 400 medium-voltage poles in order to prevent their suffering on Cres island alone.

At the beginning of 2023, the Association BIOM started implementing a five-year-long LIFE SUPport project with the aim of preserving and improving the Euroasian griffon vulture population in Croatia. Partners on the project are HEP Distribution System Operator d.o.o. (HEP ODS), Public Institution “Priroda”, the Agricultural Cooperative “Otok Krk”, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), and an associated partner, the Nature Protection Directorate of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

Within the activities of the LIFE SUPport project, protection measures will be installed on an additional 200 poles that have yet to be identified, and local volunteers play a key role in that search.

Association Biom, as part of the LifeSUPport project, is once again conducting education on the topic of electrocution of birds, which will be held on Cres in early December. The aim of the training is to prepare the participants (local volunteers) and actively involve them in searches of critical areas and points in Istria and Kvarner (island of Krk, Učka, etc.). The education includes a theoretical part and a tour of demonstration points on Cres. Association Biom covers the costs of fuel and materials for work and provides accommodation within the Beli Visitor Centre and recovery centre for griffon vultures.

Anyone interested in participating in the training can fill out the online application form by Wednesday, November 22, 2023. For additional information, you can contact the Biom association at the email address elektrokucija@biom.hr. The number of participants is limited!