Conservation efforts at Philadelphia Zoo extend well beyond just protecting Gorillas. There are milestones with each project, and we want to make sure to share them with you.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently announced efforts to expand the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by including the protection of birds from industry hazards like oil pits, communications towers and wind turbines. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), one of our oldest wildlife protection laws, was originally created by the National Audubon Society to protect birds from human activities largely associated with hunting. Since its inception in 1918, the MBTA has saved the lives of millions of birds by managing sport hunting and the collection of feathers.
The time has now come to take the MBTA to the next level and manage new risks to migratory and native birds brought about by technology. For example, many species—including the bald eagle, golden eagle, short-eared owl, and whooping crane—are facing deathly outcomes when they come into contact with wind turbines. Proposed improvements to the MBTA will cover the dangers posed by communications towers, wind turbines and high-tension power lines, as well as mandate companies in the oil and power-line sectors to implement best practices in protecting birds.
Here at the Zoo, we have been working for years alongside Audubon Pennsylvania to protect resident and migratory birds in our city and state. We are focused on another man-made threat: the issue of window collisions, which kill between 100 million and 1 billion birds in North America each year. Birds generally collide with windows because they don’t perceive glass as a solid object and try to fly either through it or into trees and other habitat reflected in the glass.
We’re delighted by the news that the USFWS is considering options to strengthen the MBTA, and we encourage you to share your support for expanding this 20th century law to protect birds from 21st century threats.
Join the Philadelphia Zoo UNLESS Project for more opportunities to act on the behalf of wildlife and for updates on our work with migratory birds and other conservation projects.
By Nicole DeMentri, Conservation Associate