Death by collision: Counting the cost of power lines on birds in Kenya
Richard Kipng’ eno looks at a wide variety of pink carcasses spread on the ground. The scene looks terrible. Several dead Lesser flamingos Phoeniconaias small populate the location which adjoins a high-voltage powerline. Richard’s harsh price quote places the casualty numbers in between 50 and also 100. All are the most up to date targets of crash with the 132kV Juja–Naivasha–Lanet–Lessos electrical line at Soysambu, northwestKenya
“Over the years, we have actually seen countless crash and also electrocution occurrences entailing flamingos, pelicans and also various other birds along this area of the high-voltage line. The scenario is fairly alarming,” states Richard.
Richard’s worries are not unlikely. The Juja–Naivasha–Lanet–Lessos powerline puncture an area of the Lake Elementaita Important Bird Area (IBA), a reproducing website for Great White pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus and also house to countless waterbirds. Over the years, Richard, that has actually operated in the location as a tourist guide, has actually observed the destructive impacts of powerline crash and also electrocution on birds. As he remembers, these occurrences take place often however are not reported.
“Unfortunately, the majority of these events go unreported and also the appropriate wild animals authorities appear not to be that worried. The scenario is alarming,” includes Richard.
Worldwide, crash and also electrocution by high-voltage line are in charge of the fatality of numerous varieties of birds. It is approximated that numerous countless birds pass away each year from crash and also electrocution with power transmission lines.
Running virtually alongside the Juja–Naivasha–Lanet-Lessos powerline is one more 400kV line; the quickly to be appointed 308 kilometres Olkaria-Lessos-Kisumu transmission line, one more possibly dangerous hazard to migratory birds. A three-kilometre stretch of the brand-new powerline leaves the southerly side ofLake Elementaita Its closeness to the coast endangers lives of countless birds which regular the lake. Nature Kenya (Bird Life Partner) and also various other preservation company are worried regarding this growth.
“The existing directing of the powerline simply beside Lake Elementaita is a fatality catch for birds. This area of the line does not abide by worldwide bird safety and security requirements,” states Dr Paul Matiku,Nature Kenya Executive Director
“This line is a hazard to migratory marsh birds and also seriously threatened marauders via electrocution and also crash. Lake Elementaita and also various other main Rift Valley lakes are essential biodiversity hotspots of regional and also worldwide relevance,” includes Dr Matiku.
Of issue to preservationists is Lake Elementaita’s biodiversity relevance. For beginners, the lake is the only breeding place for the Great White pelicans inEast Africa Lake Elementaita, along with lakes Nakuru, Natron and also Bogoria, create the Rift Valley alkaline lakes network, a considerable component of the flamingo movement. Lake Elementaita is additionally an indispensable component of the African-Eurasian flyway. Millions of birds utilize this flyway to move from their wintering premises in Africa to their reproducing websites in Europe and also Central Asia.
“Investors require to pay unique focus when creating and also mounting high-voltage line via important biodiversity hotspots such asLake Elementaita Any mild mistake might be devastating to the preservation of birds country wide and also worldwide,” alerts Dr Matiku.
Proponents of the powerline task, led by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO), case due persistance was worked out as advised in a 2009 Environmental and also Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) record. Critics on the various other hand, state or else. “The ESIA being trusted by this task is flawed and also void,” insists Dr Matiku.
“There were no appointments or any kind of kind of involvement with ornithology professionals and also various other stakeholders for this certain task. Design and also specs of all transmission line elements were not component of the ESIA and also were shown to have actually been obtained at a later day. The layout and also elements are essential components of the influences and also reduction steps of any kind of offered task. This was an essential noninclusion and also needs to have created the basis for evaluation of the ESIA prior to execution of the task,” he includes.
To day, Nature Kenya has actually two times composed KETRACO and also held 2 conferences looking for to have the controversial 3km area of the powerline halted or rerouted. None of these treatments has actually flourished. The allure was encompassed various other stakeholders consisting of the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and also the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the task’s investors. The National Environment Complaint Committee (NECC) was additionally alerted of the concern and also has actually asked KETRACO and also the Ministry of Energy to react to questions elevated.
Audience with worldwide preservation organizations was additionally looked for over the issue. These consisted of Bird Life International, the Ramsar Secretariat, and also the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Ramsar contacted the Kenyan federal government looking for a feedback.
Among suggestions fronted by Nature Kenya to avoid bird fatalities by crash or electrocution, was stopping building and construction tasks to enable participatory stakeholder involvement. Another tip was rerouting of the high-voltage line even more far fromLake Elementaita It was additionally recommended that an ornithological research study be carried out to recognize the possible unfavorable influences of the task on birds, with the objective of settling on bird precaution in the task area, layout and also design jobs.
Other tips consisted of; making the transmission line a lot more noticeable to birds, deserting walkway of transmission lines and also availing maps and also GENERAL PRACTITIONERS collaborates of the whole high-voltage line from Olkaria.
As of January 2021, absolutely nothing appears to have actually transformed. Newly mounted pylons stand near the old ones without rerouting or any kind of various other reduction action imagined by the designer. KETRACO continues to be numb over the concern. Nature Kenya has actually currently contacted the Energy and also Petroleum Cabinet Secretary over the issue. The National Environmental Complaint Committee has nevertheless recognized it understands the concern and also is checking out it.
“We are dealing with a record on this concern. We have actually currently seen the website concerned. Thanks for the ongoing assistance of preservation specifically security of our birds. Please trust our assistance on preservation initiatives,” notesDr Chumo Kipkorir, the board’s assistant, in an e-mail to Nature Kenya.
For Richard and also various other nature fanatics, the omnipresence of electrical lines and also pylons at Lake Elementatia spells destine the location’s bird populace. And if the most up to date flamingo fatality occurrence is anything to pass, the most awful is yet to find.
On its component, Nature Kenya remains to go after every feasible method, consisting of interesting appropriate stakeholders, to make the nation’s IBAs, KBAs and also flyways more secure for birds.