Eagles rack up huge mobile phone bills flying from Russia to Iran

Wildlife group has budget blown after fitting birds with transmitters programmed to send texts

The steppe eagles spent summer in a part of Kazakhstan without mobile phone coverage, so the researchers expected a flood of accumulated messages when the birds migrated south. Photograph: iStock

The steppe eagles spent summer in a part of Kazakhstan without mobile phone coverage, so the researchers expected a flood of accumulated messages when the birds migrated south. Photograph: iStock

 

A Russian wildlife group is seeking donations after eagles they were tracking racked up big mobile phone bills abroad.

Elena Shnayder, of the Centre For Wild Animal Rehabilitation, said the group had fitted young steppe eagles with transmitters programmed to send text messages with their positions four times a day.

The eagles spent summer in a part of Kazakhstan without mobile phone coverage, so the researchers expected a flood of accumulated messages when the birds migrated south.

They were expected to pass through Kazakhstan or Russia where a text message is cheap.

Instead, some skirted those areas and did not pick up a signal until they reached Iran, where messages are more expensive — many times what the scientists had planned for in their budget.–AP