As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

What a flap: SIM swiped from slain stork's GPS tracker used to rack up $2,700 phone bill

Bio-boffins' feathers ruffled after miscreants flip 'em the bird, costing charity a lotta złoty

By Iain Thomson in San Francisco 3 Jul 2018 at 18:44

A Polish charity is on the hook for 10,000 złoty (£2,010, $2,648) after a tracking device it put on a white stork was stolen in Africa – and its SIM card used to make a ton of expensive phone calls.
The nature group Grupa EkoLogiczna attached the GPS device to the back of the bird, named Kajtka, in April 2017 while it spent the spring in Poland. The gizmo was supposed to track the stork's progress as it migrated south to Africa. Kajtka made the trip safe and sound, and on February 1 this year, it started north again for a European summer vacation.

Ten days later, Kajtka reached the Blue Nile valley in Sudan, and suddenly came to a stop. One could assume was a dead stop, since the bird didn’t move again until April 26, when things got odd for the scientists monitoring Kajtka’s GPS feed.

That day the signal took a circuitous 25 kilometre (16 mile) trip, and then went dead. Then on June 7, the charity’s mobile phone company handed it a massive bill from Kajtka. The group said earlier last month someone took the tracker apart, and used the SIM card for 20-hours of eye-watering phone calls.

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