Flight of the Swans highlights birds’ plight

05 October 2016: Paramotor pilot Sacha Dench’s gruelling 4,500-mile (7,000 km) flight tracking of the migration of Bewick’s swans is well underway.

The 10-week Flight of the Swans is using Inmarsat connectivity to promote the bid by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) to discover why the species is in sharp decline.

Conservationist Sacha was interviewed live via BGAN for the UK’s BBC Breakfast TV programme from a landing site in northern Russia. She described her experience so far of flying alongside the swans as “completely mindblowing in every way”.

Remote communities

“We are flying over the swans’ homeland at this time of year – endless wetlands they can use for breeding and huge areas where they can gather before migrating,” she said.

Sacha has been welcomed by the remote communities of the tundra who rely on hunting for their livelihood.

“The hunters have been very open with us, and we have already learned that climate change is having quite a big impact and changing the swans’ migration time so they are now coming through during the hunting season, so that is something that should be looked at.”

In touch

The expedition team has two BGAN terminals and six IsatPhone 2 satellite phones supplied by Inmarsat so they can stay in touch, transmit reports, video and photographs, and post on social media throughout the swans’ journey from Russia across Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, before arriving in England for the winter.

Look out for more live updates on BBC Breakfast over the coming weeks.