Preventing Electrocution of Endangered Birds




Birdlife, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds


Cooperation between NGOs, industry and governments to prevent electrocution of endangered birds on distribution power lines in Bulgaria and Sudan, led by the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) and the BirdLife International - UNDP/GEF Migratory Soaring Birds Project.



  • identify power lines that are a threat to bird species
  • Replace or improve energy infrastructures to prevent bird electrocutions
  • Develop best practices guidance material and a sensitivity tool for bird protection
  • protect two endangered species and manage their habitats


Main information:

Electrocution by electricity pylons poses one of the greatest dangers facing the birds in the Sakar Special Protection Area, home to nearly half of Bulgaria’s eastern imperial eagle population. Between 2009 and 2013, 67 per cent of the Imperial Eagles that had been tagged with satellite transmitters died by electrocution. With support from the EU LIFE programme, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) cooperated with the power company EVN AG to insulate 595 hazardous electricity poles along a total length of 59 km.

Experts from BSPB identified electrocution threat zones for birds and mapped the most dangerous poles. As a result, special plastic insulators were added to these poles, thus removing any threat of electrocution. Since then no electrocuted eagles have been found in areas with insulated poles, contributing to an observed increase of 25 per cent in the number of breeding pairs.

In addition, efforts to protect the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria led to the identification of a power line in the Sudan that was also threatening this species. Thanks to efforts from BirdLife International, the Sudanese Wildlife Society and the Sudanese Transmission Electricity Company the line has been decommissioned and replaced by a new fully insulated line.

For its work in preserving the Imperial Eagle, BSPB has since received the Natura 2000 award for conservation.


Additional information:

  • BirdLife International is the world's largest nature conservation Partnership. Through their unique local-to-global approach, they deliver high impact and long-term conservation for the benefit of nature and people
  • BirdLife is the global Red List authority on the threat status of birds. The association knows which species are most at risk of extinction and which conservation actions could save them. BirdLife's Preventing Extinctions Program has taken action for over 500 (40%) of the world's threatened bird species since 2008


RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

EU LIFE funding support Logo

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.