Target: saving the Canary Islands Egyptian Vulture

“Carrying out research on threatened species is essential; patients cannot be treated if we do not know what is wrong with them.”

– José Antonio Donázar, Researcher at the Doñana-CSIC Biological Station.

GPS tracking

Endesa’s collaboration enabled five Guirres to be monitored between 2014 and 2016. A GPS device was installed on each of the individuals, which then sent the information to a computer. This enabled us to identify where the Guirres’ most commonly used resting places and roosting sites were located, in order to carry out the necessary corrections.

This study has enabled us to gain a better understanding of the ecological role of the pylons and the surroundings for this species. We verified that in areas in which there is a lack of trees such as the Canary Islands, electricity pylons represent safe points required for the survival of this species.

Initiatives for the preservation of the Guirre

Endesa’s role was not just limited to research; once the most dangerous points for the Guirre had been identified, we carried out the necessary improvements to ensure the subspecies could survive.

Initially the activities carried included indicating ground wires to prevent collisions or replacing anti-vibrators that were considered dangerous and replacing them with newly designed ones. But, above all, we insulated various supports that were being used as resting places by the Guirres, leading to a risk of electrocution, so we prevented them from coming into contact with any live elements.

Furthermore, we installed reflective markers to prevent the birds from colliding with the power lines. To date, a total of 22 kilometres of power lines have been marked to protect the birds on the islands.

“Endesa has played a very significant role in various programmes for the recovery of the Guirre since 2008. To date, a total of 22 kilometres of power lines have been marked for the protection of the birds on the islands.”

– Rogelio Mesa. Endesa Red Environmental Expert

Apart from actively taking part, we believe that raising awareness is very important. Accordingly, in 2014, Endesa organised the exposition “Tamarán, the story of a birth”, which explained the birth of the first Guirre born in captivity, with the help of panels and videos. The aim was to communicate the importance of this birth as a way of raising awareness among the community regarding the work carried out to save and protect the Guirre.

The Spanish Ornithology Society (SEO-Birdlife), in the Canary Islands also collaborated with Endesa in order to implement these measures, contributing to the study of the possible risks of electricity pylons on the islands for birds and monitoring the effectiveness of the actions carried out.

The measures adopted have been extremely successful. The downward trend has been reversed and now the population of Guirres in the Canary Islands is increasing. The number of specimens has tripled since 1998.