A Russian eagle being tracked by scientists via a GPS collar has cost them a small fortune in huge data roaming charges – after it flew out the country.
The migrating bird, named Min, was fitted with a device designed to text its coordinates back to researchers.
But they had not reckoned on the Steppe eagle– which usually migrate to southern Russia or Kazakhstan – taking a 3,000-mile scenic route all the way to Iran.
From there, hundreds of text messages were hit with a 49 rouble (60p) roaming tariff – leading to the huge data roaming charges bill.
The scientists, from Russia’s Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in the city of Novosibirsk, were monitoring 13 birds in their routes from Siberia.
The team had started crowdfunding on social media to pay off the bills.
Researcher Elena Schneider said: “She sent us (all at once) hundreds of expensive SMSs with her summer locations…spending the entire collective (phone) budget for our eagles.”
The cost is said to have been in the tens of thousands of roubles.
The scientists revealed their predicament this week when they launched a crowdfunding bid to pay off the “astronomical” bill. After learning of the team’s dilemma, Russian mobile phone operator Megafon offered to cancel the debt and put the project on a special, cheaper tariff.