New steps towards secure power lines for wildlife

Delivering secure poles following our technical inspection

Back in February, our partner e-distribuzione inspected power lines in the areas of Lake Vico Natural Reserve and Marturanum Regional Park. As we wrote about here, the aim was to identify power line sectors that might be dangerous for birds, specifically to young lanner falcons released within our project. The team found that approximately 155 poles might present an electrocution risk and therefore needed technical improvements.

After detailed mapping and planning, field work has officially taken off. Mitigating life hazards from infrastructure is one of the critical conservation actions foreseen by the LIFE Lanner project (Action C3), and is right on schedule. Work on the power lines has started on April 19 and is planned to end by December 2022. The first lines to be secured are those of Lake Vico, in a radius of 2-4 kilometers from our latest hacking box.

The conflict between birds and power lines

Thanks to the experience of our partners of Lake Vico, we know that power lines pose a grave threat to birds, and raptors specifically. The data gathered from various wildlife rescue centres shows that electrocution takes a heavy toll on lanner falcons. Moreover, half of the birds taken care of at the Lake Vico rescue centre fell victim to this tragic phenomenon.

Historic lanner nesting sites in the province of Viterbo, in northern Lazio, have widespread presence of low- and medium-voltage power lines. Securing utility poles is therefore of essence to safeguard raptors, which often use these structures as perches from which to hunt. This is particularly critical during just after release. In fact, being less familiar with the world around them, during this period raptors are extremely vulnerable.

Stay tuned for a detailed report by e-distribuzione, as well as aerial photographs of all areas covered by the interventions!