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People. Flying with the Swans from Russia to England by paramotor

Slimbridge, UK - Woman does epic 7000 km flight to study bird migration. Her 10 weeks long journey started in September and ended in these days

Sacha Dench, a British conservationist and former free-diving champion, followed the route of Bewick’s swans –a subspecies characterized by a beak that is yellow for two thirds of its length– flying by paramotor from Russia to United Kingdom. The number of Bewick’s swans halved in the last twenty years. By closely following their migration the woman helped the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust –the center for science and conservation of birds founded in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott, son of explorer R.F. Scott– to understand their habits and the difficulties they encounter along their way. The researcher spent 10 weeks flying side by side with the birds, following their route –some of them had special GPS devices attached– and landing in the evening to study their behavior on the ground. Sacha Dench started from arctic Siberian tundra –where swans nest in the summertime– and flew over 11 Countries. She and her support team had to face inhospitable lands and extreme weather conditions, each one with its own specificity, to which they continuously had to adapt: freezing temperatures, presence of low clouds, rain, fog, the difficulty to finding places suitable for landing in the taiga, a painful injury to her knee that obliged her to attach a trike to her paramotor. The paramotor’s maximum speed of 50 km/h was not an obstacle, but the opportunity to understand how the birds adapted to wind conditions in the same way she and her team were obliged to do. The 7000 km flight started in September and got to its end in these days in Slimbridge, where Wildfowl and Wetland Trust has its headquarters and where some of the Bewick’s swans recover in wintertime. The trip also gave the chance to meet the local people of the crossed territories and inform them about the damage caused by hunting. Sacha Dench landed on British soil on December 5. She was the first woman to ever cross the Channel by a powered paraglider trike, a paragliding wing attached to a motorized trike.

fra/pec - 1200900

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