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Oriental Stork Returned to Nature after a Rehabilitation Course

18 august 2022
The Rehabilitation Center “TIGR”’s staff the Primorsky Province Wildlife Management Department have released an Oriental stork after being rehabilitated with the support of WWF.

Prior to release, WWF’s staff fitted the stork with a GPS transmitter and tagged it with rings. This will help track the path ahead and monitor the well-being of the rare bird. The stork was delivered to the place of release, in the buffer zone of the Khankaisky Nature Reserve, in a special box by car.

Back in June, a one-and-a half month old stork fell into the hands of specialists. It miraculously survived after the fall of the nest from a great height in the Spassky district of Primorye. His mother and two other chicks died on the spot. The local residents found the winged orphan and handed it over to the inspectors of the Wildlife Management Department. The chick was brought to the rehabilitation center in the village of Alekseevka, where previously with the help of WWF’s supporters, a special infrastructure has been created to save rare birds. It includes a warm room for temporary keeping migratory birds in winter and a network of aviaries for their rehabilitation in the warm season.

Oriental stork returned to the wild after rehabilitation. © Viktor Kuzmenko, The Rehabilitation Center “TIGR”

“Though the chick fell from a great height, it the injuries were not serious. So, the first priority was to help it recover from this shock, ensure its normal development and weight gain. When the bird got a little stronger, we transferred it to an outdoor aviary to learn how to fly and maser the flying skills. Within two months, the chick gained weight well and confidently took to the wing, which made us to make a decision to return it to the wild. We hope that he will successfully socialize with his relatives and together with them go to his first wintering in warm lands,” said Viktor Kuzmenko, head of the Rehabilitation Center “TIGR”.

This Oriental stork has become the eighth in a raw rare bird rescued by the Rehab Centre’s staff with the support of the WWF over the past three years -  four Orienta storks, a white-naped crane and two Red-crowned cranes have successfully returned to the wild.

“Thanks to GPS transmitters, we monitor the fate of all rehabilitated birds, and we know for sure that today they are all alive and feel well. In addition to information about the well-being of each bird, we receive very important scientific information about their stop-over places, feeding places, places where they gather and nesting. These data are needed for further planning of measures for their protection not only in Russia, but also in China,” comments Anna Serdyuk, head of the Freshwater Ecosystems Conservation Unit at WWF Russia Amur Branch, head of the Russian Working Group for the Oriental Stork, PhD.
Additional information:

The Oriental stork is one of the rarest birds in the Russian Far East. It is endangered and included in the Red List of the Russian Federation, IUCN, Appendix I of CITES. Since 1998, thanks to the activities carried out by the state with the support of WWF Russia Amur branch, the number of breeding pairs of the Oriental storks in the Russian part of the Amur region has doubled and is about 950 pairs.

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Leading Project coordinator