Max the stork achieves new animal record
September 19 2006 at 12:37PM
Geneva - A stork called Max has achieved a world record after spending
more than seven years under satellite surveillance, the longest ever
duration for an animal, scientists in Switzerland said on Tuesday.
Every movement of the female White Stork has been tracked since July 5,
1999, beating the previous record duration held by an American Bald
Eagle, according to the Natural History Museum in the Swiss city of
"Currently it is the only living animal which has been carrying an
Argos satellite beacon on its back for more than 2 628 days," Andre
Fasel, curator of the museum, told AFP.
The duration was recorded by the satellite firm, he added.
Max's record coincided with her arrival for autumn and winter in
Morocco this week, after she left her summer nest in the southern
German village of Tuefingen on September 1.
The stork was born in captivity in Switzerland after her exhausted
mother was taken under the wing of ornithologists nine years ago.
After nesting, Max eventually flew off equipped with the solar-powered
beacon, allowing scientists to plot the bird's migratory habits between
central Europe, Spain and north Africa.
Fasel said the project that initially involved 26 storks was aimed at
identifying dangers for the migrating birds.
The scientists discovered that water towers and reservoirs in southern
France were sometimes death traps, as well as power lines near
Barcelona and a toxic waste dump near Seville in Spain.
"In France measures were taken to make water towers safe," Fasel said.
The bird's daily movements can be followed on the museum's website. Max
spent Monday night 50 kilometres east of the Moroccan capital, Rabat.
Max was named prematurely after a male Swiss ornithologist, although
scientists have difficulty telling the sex of newborn storks. - Sapa-AFP
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