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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Wind turbine blades kill a bearded vulture in the Netherlands

A bearded vulture that was apart of a breeding program to improve the population in Europe, has failed to survive a confrontation in Wieringerwerf with a wind turbine.

Bearded vultures are an endangered species, making it on the”near threatened” list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, meaning it could go extinct in the future. These are large creatures, as well, with their wingspan reaching around 3 meters, making them one of the biggest birds in Europe.

“We had seen it flying in between two turbines the day before and were afraid it might crash into one,” said Pohlmann. “It’s a terrible shame and a big blow to the introduction programme. It was very upsetting to see it lying there.”

This marks the first time a bearded vulture, that is only seen some three times in one year in the country, has flown into a wind turbine in the Netherlands.

However, Pohlman stated that it won’t be the last. “Because their number is growing and so is the number of wind turbines, We know that bearded vultures are unable to change course at the last minute, so the turning blades are a big danger.”

In order to prevent an incident like this from happening again, the turbines must be equipped with a system that prevents the blades from turning when a large bird is approaching. In New Zealand, some turbines already have that system working as well as the wind turbines in Spain and Portugal. “We think all turbines should have it,” said Pohlman.

The Wageningen University & Research has taken the dead bird and will investigate on whether the suffering was from any underlying conditions.

A request to include the bird in its collection has already been put in by the Natuurhistorisch Museum in Rotterdam, however, shockingly, not of animals that have died in an uncommon way.

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