KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu chapter of the Malaysian Nature Society hopes telecommunication (Telco) companies can together help protect the nests of wild birds that often make telco towers their ‘home’.

Its chairman, Wong Chee Ho, said many of these towers were breeding grounds for several types of birds of prey and it was extremely disappointing when their nests were destroyed or stolen by irresponsible parties.

He said in November last year, a pair of white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) were observed building a nest at a telco tower in Hulu Terengganu.

Wong said on Jan 31, it was observed that the same nest held one egg and one newly hatched chick with a pair of sea eagles bringing back food regularly.

“However, on Feb 16, the chick was found to be missing and the same thing happened in Kuala Nerus, where another chick went missing in March,” he said in a statement today.

In view of this, Wong called on telecommunication companies to develop policies that would be able to protect wild birds which nest on their towers.

“Many countries around the world have protocols in place that support human-wildlife coexistence involving telecommunication towers. There are many ways to operate safely when birds of prey establish nests on towers.

“These towers are chosen by the large birds for nesting because they provide a stable platform with strategic location and optimal height and birds will tend to reuse the same nest each year,” he said.

He said the best option that can be taken by Telcos if an active nest is found is for the birds not to be destroyed, especially if they are a totally protected species, but left undisturbed until the young birds have fledged.

“Once they have left the nest, tower maintenance can be carried out. If nests become a serious problem to the safety and operation of the tower, regular checks on the towers can be carried out to identify if a new nest is being built.

Wong proposed that in the early stages of nest building, telco tower operators could discourage further nest construction, but once a nest is complete and in use, the wildlife should be left undisturbed until the breeding season is over. — Bernama