17 dead storks found under power pylons in Málaga

by Lorraine Williamson

Officers from the specialist nature conservation group of the Málaga local police (Grupona) have opened an investigation into the death of 17 storks allegedly electrocuted by high-voltage pylons. The officers have reported the deaths to the relevant authorities. 

The investigation began on 4 September.  Local Grupona officers went to a hunting reserve in the Los Ruices area. This is between the districts of Campanillas and Puerto de la Torre. They had been called to the scene because of a wounded stork. Moreover, the officers rescued the animal. And discovered it was a white stork (Ciconia ciconina) with a broken wing. Furthermore, it was sitting under a high-voltage pylon. According to the established protocol, the animal was transferred and handed over to the Andalucian government’s Centre for the Recovery of Endangered Species (CREA) in Málaga. 

How was the stork injured? 

The officers started an investigation into the possible cause of the injury. And during several inspections carried out over a number of days, found a total of white storks dead under various electricity pylons in the area. 

Grupona’s officers have drawn up a report which they have used to ask the relevant departments of the Andalucian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Sustainable Development to take action. They want the government to urge the companies responsible for the high-voltage power lines to adopt suitable measures. These must protect birds from collisions and electrocution on high-voltage power lines.  Furthermore, this is provided for in Royal Decree 1432/2008. 

Crime against wildlife 

The officers also sent a report to the Environmental Crimes Department of the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Málaga. This was alleging a crime against wildlife. The agents acted in accordance with the directives of the State Prosecutor’s Office, in an official letter from the Prosecutor of the Environment and Urban Planning Chamber dated 29 July 2019. Consequently, this urged the various governments to report and prosecute all detected cases of bird deaths caused by power lines. And, furthermore includes a special focus on deaths of specially protected species, as in this particular case. 

The white stork is included in the list of wild species with a special protection regime according to Royal Decree 139/2011, and is also listed in the Spanish Catalogue of Endangered Species in the category ‘special interest’. As a result, the bird enjoys special protection that is stricter than that of other more common wild animal species. 

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