Scientists in Russia got a shock when their phone bill arrived. The bill was a lot bigger than they expected it to be. The reason was because the steppe eagle they were following in their research flew too far from Russia. The scientists were tracking the eagle as it migrated across the European and Asian continents. The bird had SMS transmitters fitted to its body. This meant that when it flew outside Russia, the transmitters used the Internet services of other countries. The scientists thus had to pay data roaming charges. These are the charges you pay to use your mobile phone in other countries. The research team ran out of money after the eagle flew to Iran and Pakistan.
The team started a page on a crowdfunding site to help raise money to pay the bill. The page was called "Top up the eagle's mobile". Bird lovers from around the world contributed money to the page. The scientists raised $1,600 to pay the bill. Russia's mobile phone operator Megafon then heard of the scientists' problems and offered to cancel the debt. It also moved the team's phone package to one at a cheaper rate. The problem for the team started when the eagle flew outside of Russia and Kazakhstan. An SMS in Kazakhstan cost 30 US cents, but one from Iran cost 50 cents. A scientist said he wanted the eagle to continue sending SMS data to help his project, which will help protect all steppe eagles.