04
Sep
08

Saving the Saker Falcon in Mongolia

A few days later I received an email from a researcher Rick Harness, a wildlife biologist with EDM International out of Colorado. Rick has spent his career studying avian electrocution issues and works domestically and internationally to build a power grid that is more reliable and safer for bird life.  Over the last two years Rick and colleagues have taken their vacation time and their expertise to the Mongolian Steppe to save the endangered Saker Falcon and other species of birds. The Saker Falcon’s numbers have plummeted over the last decade- from approximately 10,000 nesting pairs in 1994 to an estimated 4,000 in 2003. Of concern to the project team are the number of Saker falcons unnecessarily being electrocuted on problematic power lines.  Their 2007 assessment in conjunction with the University of Mongolia looked at 527 power poles along a 50km stretch of lines. They found 68 bird carcasses at pole bases, including 13 Saker falcons.  They attribute these deaths to the improper design and construction of power poles. Now that EDM and their Mongolian colleagues understand the issues they are putting together a project team that will travel once again rural Mongolia and start retrofitting the power lines. This project depends on the collaborative support from Mongolian Utilities and government agencies. Rick is going to keep us informed as the project evolves and let us know how we can help. This is exactly the sort of project we hope to support with the Burning Hawk Wine Initiative. Contact info: If you would like to receive their published assessment report or inquire about making a donation directly to this project please email me.

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