Dead Long-billed Vulture in Windmill Site, Western Ghats

by Dr. Aparna Watve
Sanjay Thakur / Aparna Watve
The latest threat to the Western Ghats has sprung from the most unexpected quarters: the well-meant promotion of green energy. While the hydro projects target river valleys, windmills hammer the hill tops.

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

The latest threat to the Western Ghats has sprung from the most unexpected quarters: the well-meant promotion of green energy. While the hydro projects target river valleys, windmills hammer the hill tops.

A large number of windfarms have been constructed across the Western Ghats landscapes. Many of these fall in area rich in biological diversity with many endemic and threatened species. So far they do not require any EIA and hence analysis of impacts on biodiversity is never measured. Although the serious concerns are the actual birdhits, the changes brought about in the entire landscape during construction and working phases are also heavily impacting these sensitive landscapes. This picture was taken in Maval area of Pune district, where windmills have been erected on sheer cliffs, in Reserve Forest lands. The cliffs provide nesting the Long-billed vultures and at the time of the photo, around 10 live vultures were seen in the adjacent skyscape. Also, a wide road has been constructed through the Reserve Forest land, fragmenting the fragile habitat.



Comments

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  2. hrgokul

    So sad…I thought that the Wind Mills would be a perfect alternate energy and Eco friendly. Now, It cracks that idea. 🙁

    Now the quick question is are they impacting the Bird Migration route too?

    If so, is there any migration map given to these companies / Govt organisations to avoid the collision between birds and Windmills????? keen to know…

    Thanks and regards
    Gokul

  3. aparnawatve1

    This is a representative picture. It just boosts up what many conservationists have been saying for a long time- an activity which alters landscape and skyscape on such a large scale cannot be done in ecologically sensitive areas. Its ecological costs and benefits need to be debated and then a decision should be taken. At present, as there is no EIA required for this “green industry” they are allowed EVERYWHERE, with only a simple statement from a forest officer saying whether they will or will not affect wildlife habitats. This has led to large scale corruption and misguided management, to the level that I that the Forest Lands in the Northern Western Ghats were FIRST leased out by the windmill companies with minimal resistance from anyone. The companies targeted the government lands first, as the acquiring is less troublesome than private lands. To deal with this on short-term we all can insist that Ecological and social impact assessment be made mandatory for Windmills. Also if WGEEP is accepted, the zoning can be suitably defined to not allow large land alterations by windfarms in sensitive areas.

  4. ashishranjan85

    Its so sad to see the plight of critically endangered bird. As far as Windmills are concerned there has never been a regulatory requirement when the windmill siting is done during early phase of the projects. The reason being there is no such rule (unlike countries like, UK, US Europe where rules for bird kill are very stringent). I would like the author of the article to send me the pictures along with location details to put forward a case to IWMA (Indian Wind Manufacturing Association) & see what can be done in future. We may see many Wind Projects coming in & around western Ghat region in future so this may be crucial. I am presently working in a Windmill company.

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