Vulture Killer Powerline Found in Metehara, Ethiopia


Electrocution and collision with energy infrastructure is among the major suspected mortality causes for the Egyptian vulture in its wintering grounds. To evaluate the magnitude of this threat and to inform appropriate conservation measures, our team is conducting transects under the identified dangerous powerlines in Ethiopia. In the area of Metehara under a medium voltage powerline for just few kilometers were found remains from three Egyptian vultures, Ruppell’s, White-backed and Hooded vultures, and other bird species (e.g. Marabou Storks, Flamingos, Egrets, etc.).

This “killer” powerline was located in vast grassland abundant in food for vultures but without any tees, rocks or other structures convenient for perching of scavengers, except for electric poles. In the same time, it was very close to the lake Basaka, which shelters a high diversity of water birds. We also visited several slaughter houses and rubbish dumps in the area with high density of scavenge, where dangerous medium voltage lines were present. Our next steps will be to meet the local Ethiopian electric company and start negotiating for making these powerlines safe for birds.

The EV New LIFE African Workshop 2019 is hosted by the EWNHS and attended by the project partners BL Africa, APLORI, SCF, NCF, RSPB and BSPB. Apart of collecting important scientific data on the threats and numbers of the Egyptian vultures in Afar region, Ethiopia (the largest known wintering congregation site in Africa, sheltering over 1000 individuals annually), this is also a training to build capacity in African partners. The participants are divided into three teams. The main goal of the team is to tag Egyptian vultures with satellite GPS-GSM transmitters in order to study their movements and threats in the wintering grounds. The other two teams are aiming mainly at monitoring of the roosting EV, conducting interviews with local communities to understand their level of awareness and attitude towards vultures, and capacity building.


The LIFE project "Egyptian Vulture New LIFE” (LIFE16 NAT/BG/000874) brings together institutions and organizations from 14 countries spanning the Balkans, Middle East and Africa and is implemented with the financial support of the EU LIFE Programme. The Coordinating Beneficiary is the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB). Associated Beneficiaries are:  Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece (HOS),  WWF Greece, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife UK (RSPB), Doğa Derneği / BirdLife Turkey (DD), regional offices of BirdLife International in Africa and Middle East, A.P. Leventis Ornithological and Research Institute (APLORI), CMS Raptors MoU, Green Balkans.