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Eskom and vulture interactions
Friday, 22 July 2016: Eskom is progressing well with the maintenance of its power generating plant whilst supplying the country’s electricity needs.
South Africa is home to nine vulture species, of which six are under threat of extinction. Vultures are one of the most high-risk bird groups, as their large wingspans and heavy bodies make them vulnerable to electrocution on pylons and collision with power lines. Vultures can potentially touch two live lines simultaneously, resulting in electrocution as well as causing the electricity supply to trip.
Our strategic partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) is continually researching new methodologies to decrease the mortality of vultures due to our infrastructure. Power line design has progressed in the last two decades, requiring all new power lines to have a bird-friendly design.
Other proactive projects already in progress include:
  • Bird sensitivity maps developed between the EWT and Eskom will be used to identify and mitigate high-risk areas of electrocutions and collisions in South Africa. Distribution Division’s strategy for reducing bird electrocutions will utilise these baseline maps to guide proactive implementation of mitigation measures, such as bird flight diverters;
  • The Karoo and North West Research Projects aim to determine the effectiveness of mitigation measures installed on our pylons and Transmission and Distribution power lines respectively;
  • The Limpopo Vulture Tracking Project assists in monitoring vulture ranges and locations.
The partnership has further formalised the reporting and investigation of any wildlife incident. Reporting is the key to obtaining information and implementing appropriate mitigation measures.
Members of the public can report any wildlife fatalities linked to electrical infrastructure to; @EWTEskom, or 0860 111 535.
We will continue to provide regular updates on the state of the power system through various media platforms.