Kangnas Wind Farm and the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology are working in partnership to gather data related to the Red Lark’s current status, its occurrence, habitat preferences and threats.
As an endemic species, Red Lark is one of only a few species solely confined to the Northern Cape province of South Africa.
Further, the species is currently listed as globally vulnerable under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
For this reason, the wind farm and institute are collaborating to conserve, protect and better understand the species, particularly in light of the potential expansion of renewable energy facilities within the species’ range.
“We currently have a very limited understanding related to the quantity and status of habitat available, as well as the population size of this species within South Africa. There is little consensus or confidence in the projected impacted of renewable energy facilities on the species, so this collective effort will help both our research and the renewable energy sector to better understand any possible impact and help us to identify if any safeguards are necessary," explained BirdLife South Africa KEM-JV Fellow of Conservation Robin Colyn, who will be heading the study.
The greatest threat to bird species is climate change, something that renewable energy could help offset.
With climate change, droughts are expected to become more severe. The associated changes in vegetation, food availability, habitat, predators, parasites and diseases may have marked effects on range-restricted, habitat-specific, resident species such as Red Lark.
“Studies like this contribute to the environmentally sustainable development of the wind energy in the country and will facilitate the compilation of species conservation plans and mitigating actions, should it be required,” explained Kangnas Wind Farm director Reyburn Hendricks.