March 6, 2009
Cuban experts recommend that bird watch continues

Cuban environmentalists are recommending that a committee be set up between the relevant government agencies, the International Airport Development Company (IADC) and conservationists to monitor the flight patterns of birds in the area of the construction of the International Airport as studies continue.{{more}}

Team leader Dr. C. Hiram Gonzalez of the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment said that from preliminary studies conducted by himself and team members Alejandro Llanes and Eneider Perez, the construction of the airport does not affect greatly the endemic species of birds in the area.

The men who visited bird sanctuary at Milligan’s Cays, which is just off the airport, had visited other areas around the construction site to study the birds’ populations and flight patterns.

They are expected to return later this year when migratory and breeding birds travel to the island.

To date, the experts believe that most of the birds in the immediate area may move to other areas of the island, if they are affected by the airport.

At the completion of the studies, a final proposal will be made to the IADC, but until then, Gonzalez and his men think that continuous monitoring of the area is needed; also upon completion of the project.

The bird study was one of the recommendations made in the airport’s Environmental Impact Assessment, along with hydrological and coastal studies.

Its importance was highlighted a few months ago, after a flock of birds caused a jetliner to crash in the United States.

According to team leader Gonzalez, bird strikes cost millions of dollars in expenses and a significant loss of life annually.

Although the experts claim that there is no fool proof way to prevent the occurrence, they believe with the right steps in place, these occurrences could be minimized. (JJ)