Stork Tragedy in Turkey (October 12, 2000)

Young white stork female named Zofie (we followed her flight since August with help of satellites in African Odyssey Project), died near Sinekli in European part of Turkey. As with many other storks, her death was resulted from unsafe electric wiring poles.

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Despite of numerous surveys dedicated to the “birds and electric wiring” topic, no one can estimate number of birds that die each year on the “lethal poles”. One thing is sure: it is a problem with no boundaries. Big migrating birds (e. g. storks or eagles) are in great danger in nesting places, during their flight, and in winter habitats, as well. In Europe, Asia and Africa, they may anytime land on an unsafe pole. Then, the bird’s wings may cause a short circuit and resulting discharge kills the bird. Major population reduction of some species may be connected with the lethal poles.

Zofie’s journey ended in the Bosphorus migration path. There, thousands of storks fly every season. The area almost lacks trees, therefore the storks land on the lethal poles. As we explored a 2km-long segment of electric wiring line close to the place of Zofie’s death, we found remains of at least 13 white storks! Another line segment revealed remains of 8 storks individuals… There is no way of counting (or even estimating) total number of storks killed in the European part of Turkey. However, it is obvious that this narrower segment of the eastern migration path is a place of immense bird tragedy.

We believe ornithologists and conservationists along with authorities of Turkey will pay attention to the “lethal poles problem” in European part of Turkey. Thus, the risk for migrating birds may be reduced as soon as possible.

Miroslav Bobek,
Chief of the African Odyssey Project

Texts by Miroslav Bobek and František Pojer
Photo by Khalil Baalbaki and archive of Africka odysea
Design by Tom Vild
Page by Lenka Hampapová
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