Power Line Insulation
Campaigning for underground power lines and funding the insulation of existing overground power lines.
Virtually all of the power lines in Costa Rica are aerial (running above ground, along the sides of the roads) and are poorly insulated (with bare aluminium conductors). Any animals living in the trees can simply climb down onto the lines from the overhanging canopy. There are more than 3000 wildlife electrocutions every single year in Costa Rica, and the country is thought to have lost approximately 50% of its arboreal mammal populations as a result (Sánchez 2007). Over half of the electrocuted animals are sloths, and the mortality rate following an electrocution is about 70%. Typically, this stems from multi-organ failure after the animal’s core body temperature soars to over 43°C. If the sloth somehow survives beyond the initial electrocution, the rehabilitation process usually involves the amputation of limbs which leaves the individual unable to return to the wild.
The only long-term solution to prevent wildlife electrocutions in the future is to bury the power lines underground. This process is extraordinarily costly, lengthy and requires the agreement of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE). A more affordable and rapid solution is to insulate the existing electricity lines, poles and transformers that are currently without insulation. In order to do this, we are funding the raw materials necessary by providing grants to affiliating organisations. We are currently supporting the Shock Free Zone program launched by the Jaguar Rescue Centre which is aiming to insulate all of the transformers and electrical lines throughout the South Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. As of December 2018, 25 electrical transformers in wildlife electrocution hot-spots have been insulated through this project.
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