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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Efficacy of a mitigation method to reduce raptor electrocution at an electricity distribution line in Mongolia

Published source details

Dixon A., Bold B., Tsolmonjav P., Galtbalt B. & Batbayar N. (2018) Efficacy of a mitigation method to reduce raptor electrocution at an electricity distribution line in Mongolia. Conservation Evidence, 15, 50-53

Summary

We conducted a trial of a mitigation technique aimed at reducing avian electrocution rates at a 15kV electricity distribution line in the Mongolian steppe. Electrocution resulted from birds contacting live conductor cables either when perched at the top of the grounded steel-reinforced concrete pole or when perched on the steel crossarm. Mitigation focused on line poles and involved creating a barrier between the live conductors and perch sites at randomly selected poles. This involved attaching the pin insulator at the top of the pole with a new mount, so that it was repositioned centrally to discourage birds from perching on top of the pole, while additional unconnected pin insulators were affixed adjacent to those supporting the conductor cables on the crossarm to provide a barrier to birds touching the live cables. Electrocution rates were significantly lower at mitigated poles compared to control poles, with an average reduction of 85%. This mitigation technique is relatively inexpensive to implement (approximately US$12/pole for materials), with no additional maintenance requirement and a life expectancy similar to that of the base pole design. While not eliminating electrocution risk, this mitigation technique may be useful in circumstances where the cost of implementation and sustained maintenance largely determines whether or not any form of mitigation is undertaken.