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Премия рунета 2017

Oriental stork

A stork over Amur

The Winged Symbol of Amur

From its European counterpart, the Oriental stork is distinguished by the fact that it arranges nests away from people in remote places on the outskirts of groves or stand-alone trees near lakes, rivers, among extensive marshes. It nests only in the Amur River basin. The main problem of preserving the stork remains to be a change in its habitat due to human activities. Reclamation of marshland in China and forest fires in Russia deprives storks of its food base; destroys trees on which storks build nests.

The total number of this species at the beginning of the 1990s was estimated at 3000 birds. The species is listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Russia, Japan and South Korea.

WWF has always paid attention to the Oriental stork, because this species is considered an indicator of «health» of the Amur basin ecosystem. At the beginning of its activity, the Foundation together with partners monitored nests of this bird. Until 1994, there was a rapid decline in the number of this species. For example, in the Amur region at that time there were only 100 residential nests and breeding pairs of storks.

© Mikhail Parilov
© Mikhail Parilov
© Oleg Kabalik
© Oleg Kabalik
© Oleg Kabalik
© Oleg Kabalik

What has already been done?

Since 1998, the Foundation has begun work to increase the area of specially protected natural areas (PAs) in storks’ range. By 2014, the total area of reserves and wildlife sanctuaries, in which Oriental stork nests, has reached more than 1.5 million hectares.

According to censuses of 1998–2000 in the Amur basin on Russian side, there were from 382 to 426 nests and breeding pairs of storks. Only in the Amur region 135–150 nests and pairs of this rare bird were noted.

In 2003, WWF supported the idea of employees of the Khingan Reserve to establish protection for every available nest of storks. Since 2004, the Foundation has initiated a movement of «Keepers of Stork Nests». These are organizations and specific people who have taken the responsibility to monitor condition of one or more stork’s nests and to perform a fire-fighting treatment of them in fall. The Foundation provided the activists with firefighting equipment and field equipment. Today, 28 guardians and five organizations take care of 145 stork nest. Many nests have individual plaques indicating the nest’s number and name of the keeper who cares for them. Directorates for PAs of the Amur and Jewish Autonomous Regions, public organizations «AmurSoES», «Bagulnik», the guard of nature protection «Bars» in ten years installed 47 artificial supports for storks’ nests, attached 16 baskets to trees for building nests.

Over the years, more than 40,000 people have been involved in the work to promote and preserve the population of Oriental stork.

Birds react to the care of people by increasing in numbers.

By 2014, 732 residential nests have been added to the cadastre of habitable nests. The total number of birds approaches 4000 individuals. From 1998 to 2013, the number of breeding pairs increased by more than threefold.