First published on 14.6.2017:
Based on a recent complaint filed, in the last several days more than 33 flamingos (both lesser and greater of the species) have died in Kumbharwada in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. This incident was discovered after the locals notified the Forest Department. The inspection and postmortem results confirmed that the flamingos died of electric shock. The electrocution of these flamingos took place due to the presence of high-voltage power transmission lines in the Kumbharwada region. These wires have been supplied by Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Limited (GETCO) for the use of the nearby Nirma factory. Every year more than 30,000 flamingos migrate to this coastal zone during winter and live and eat around these areas. They collide into these electric wires while taking flight. Their bodies have been found within 10 feet of the wires. A complaint regarding the presence of these hazardous electric wires was lodged four years ago and the response to that was that there was no electricity flowing through the wires. However, the locals have confirmed that electric power is still being supplied and, hence, could lead to electrocution upon contact. This is not the first time such electrocutions have taken place. Such incidents occur repeatedly in the same Kumbharwada area. The biggest such electrocution took place in 2010, when 400 birds were electrocuted in Khadir, in the Rann of Kutch (courtesy: Times of India). Past studies indicate the reason for the collision of flamingos is the invisibility of the overhead wires and the paucity of time to make avoidance manoeuvres. Flamingos are known to fly at night and under poor light conditions. Freshly dead flamingos were recorded during the morning hours suggesting that these overhead wires are not visible during the night and the dark hours of late evening or early morning. (courtesy: Flamingo mortality due to collision with high tension electric wires in Gujarat, India). Photographs and local information courtesy: Jayesh Vaghela, Bhavnagar, Gujarat. CI volunteer Urvashi Bachani helped edit this article for Conservation India.
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This is not the first time such electrocutions have taken place. Such incidents occur repeatedly in the Kumbharwada area. The biggest such electrocution took place in 2010, when 400 birds were electrocuted in Khadir, in the Rann of Kutch.