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10 new artificial supports for Oriental stork nests are installed in Amurskaya province

24 february 2022
The Amurskaya province Administration of Wildlife and Protected Areas Management with the support of WWF Russia continues to resolve “housing issues” of Oriental storks. 8 artificial supports for stork nests have been installed this year in the Beryozovsky Wildlife Refuge, and for the first time 2 supports will appear in the Blagoveshchensky Wildlife Refuge in early March.

While Oriental storks are wintering in their “apartments” on the Yangtze River in China, specialists of the Russian part of the Amur basin prepare for their safe return to breeding sites. Ten pairs of these Red Listed birds will be able to settle this year on new artificial supports. 

According to Andrey Tarasov, deputy head of the Amursky Administration of Wildlife and Protected Areas Management: “This is the rare case when the frost that has bound wetlands becomes our assistant and allows us to deliver equipment and logs for supports to the right place. In other seasons, these sites cannot be reached. 8 new tripods have already been installed on the territory of the Beryozovsky refuge, there are 23 of them here now. We also decided to install 2 new supports in the Blagoveshchensky refuge for the first time, in the floodplain of the Zeya River. This protected area is 30 km far from Blagoveshchensk (provincial administrative center), and it is important for us to understand whether its territory is suitable for storks to settle down. Now, we are expecting new settlers”.
Dmitry Khudoleev / The Administration of Wildlife and Protected Areas Management
Since 2009, WWF Russia supports this activity on expanding breeding capacity of Oriental storks in the Beryozovsky, Muravyevsky and Amursky wildlife refuges, where a record number of nests is regularly registered. In 2021, 57 nests are counted in the Amursky WR, 34 in the Beryozovsky, and 26 in the Muravyevsky.

An artificial support is built in a shape of tripod up to eight meters high. The weight of an Oriental stork nest can reach half a ton. Specialists use larch wood for the tripod, which is resistible to decay. After the snow melts, fire-prevention treatment will be conducted for the supports and all dry vegetation within a radius of 15 meters will be removed, ensuring the safety of nests during spring fires.

Comments Anna Serdyuk, Ph.D., senior project coordinator for protected areas at WWF Russia Amur branch, Chairman of the Russian Working Group for the Oriental Stork Conservation: “The lack of large trees suitable for building nests still remains a problem in the agricultural regions of the south of the Zeya-Bureya Plain. We solve this problem together with our partners from governmental and public organizations by mounting artificial supports for nests in typical stork habitats: in swampy areas and shallow water bodies with small fish and amphibians, as well as in places remote from human settlements and infrastructure. Supports are usually placed inside or on the edge of groves and bushes. This year, thanks to the Administration of Protected Areas and NGO AmurSEU, the number of tripods in provincial refuges has increased by 10 and now totals 60 in Amurskaya province. In total, there are more than 120 artificial supports in the Amur Ecoregion. Storks are actively use such “accommodations”. In general, the occupation efficiency on artificial supports is about 70%”.
An Oriental stork nest on the artificial support in Amurskaya province. 2021
Anton Sasin / AmurSEU

The Oriental stork is one of the rarest birds in the Russian Far East. It is endangered and listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and Annex I of the Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITEC).

WWF-Russia has been involved in the Oriental stork conservation work for over 20 years. During this time, thanks to the efforts of governmental and public organizations, the number of Oriental storks in the Russian part of the Amur River basin has doubled and is estimated at more than 950 breeding pairs.
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Leading Project coordinator