Satellite transmitters on Dalmatian pelicans at Lake Kerkini
Last week the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) successfully carried out a planned Dalmatian pelican trapping session, this time at Lake Kerkini! A total of 12 Dalmatian pelicans are now carrying satellite transmitters, thanks to which we will be able to know their movements in great detail.
At the same time, genetic samples (blood, feathers, etc.) were taken in order to investigate the vulnerability of the species to avian flu, which last year killed more than 60% of the breeding population at Lesser Prespa Lake, causing the greatest ecological disaster on record for Greek wildlife. The University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM) in Spain will analyse the samples, which we expect will shed light on the factors responsible for this high mortality from avian flu.
The SPP collaborated with the Florina veterinarian, Christiana Mavridou, in the trapping session, as well as local Kerkini residents Vasilis Arambatzis and Nikos Gallios, and the Management Unit/NECCA for the Lake Kerkini protected area, while employees of the latter were also trained in how to place transmitters on pelicans.
In addition to providing details on bird movements, these transmitters will also give us useful information about the dangers Dalmatian pelicans face during their lifetime. Through a similar study in the past, we have found a number of threats to pelicans, from shooting, injuries from fishing hooks and collisions with overhead power lines. Meanwhile, the tragic effect of wind parks being built in pelican flight corridors has been demonstrated by the recent fatal collisions of four great white pelicans with wind turbine blades (2020, 2022). You may find more information about the accidents and the SPP’s Memorandum on pelicans and windfarm development zoning, here: https://bit.ly/3HwrQA6 (only in Greek), https://bit.ly/3D8Xv83, https://bit.ly/3R4u4JW (only in Greek)
We look forward to downloading the valuable transmitter data, as well as the results of lab analyses, which will help us to better understand these iconic birds and the risks they face, so that we can more effectively contribute to their conservation.