White Stork transmitter racks up massive phone bill


Researchers in Poland have had to pay the equivalent of £2,064 in phone charges after a SIM card in a White Stork tracker was used for 20 hours' worth of calls.

The SIM card was part of the tracking device attached to a stork called 'Kajtka' in April 2017. By the time the researchers from Grupa EkoLogiczna (EcoLogic Group) realised they had lost contact with the bird, it had travelled more than 4,800 km, wintering in the Blue Nile Valley in eastern Sudan.

Polish White Storks are well studied and the country is a source of most of the birds involved in reintroduction projects in the UK (Ian Wells).

Questions were raised when Kajtka lingered in the area for more than eight weeks, only roaming around 25 km in various directions.

In 2018, the mystery was solved when EcoLogic Group received a phone bill for 10,000 Polish zloty, the equivalent of £2,064. Someone had picked up the tracker in Sudan and taken the opportunity to make 20 hours of phone calls using the SIM card.