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Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin

19 march 2018
In the Year of Oriental stork in the Amur River basin, winter monitoring of the breeding grounds of this rare bird is launched. In Evreiskaya province. Specialists managed both to conduct inventory of well-known stork nests and to find 14 nests in the remote area of Dzhavarga.

The Year of the Oriental stork, announced by WWF Russia and the Amur Coalition of NGOs, is held in the Amur basin. The main event is the census of this rare bird in the entire breeding range, on both sides of the Amur River in Russia and in China.

Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia

While the birds are still at their wintering grounds in warm regions, in the Yangtze River valley in China, specialists of the Directorate for Protected Areas and Wildlife Management of Evreiskaya province, Khingansky Nature Reserve in Amurskaya province, the Khanka Nature Reserve in Primorsky province and the Institute of Water and Environmental Problems in Khabarovsky province are in the field for the pioneer search of stork nests.

Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia
"After winter monitoring, it will be easier to find the nests of the Oriental stork in summer in hard-to-reach areas, where it is difficult to get even on off-road vehicles. It is easier to see the nests in winter, first, because marshes are frozen, and you can get to them on a snowmobile, and second, there is no foliage on the trees yet, and the nests are visible on a long distance. Moreover, having the information on the exact location of nests, it will be easier to visit the sites in summer, in order to check whether new settlers arrived and count the number of chicks, "comments Anna Barma, PhD, coordinator of stork surveys from WWF Russia.
Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia
In February, the staff of the Directorate for Protected Areas and Wildlife Management of Evreiskaya province, in cooperation with the volunteers of “Bagulnik” public environmental organization began to survey remote areas where storks built their nests. Specialists need to evaluate the condition of nests, whether they are destroyed by fires, strong winds, how many new ones have appeared.
Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia
“Two groups on a marsh buggy and a snowmobile, examined a vast area of the hard-to-reach area Dzhavarga in Birobidzhansky district of Evreiskaya province. This place characterized by abundant food resources has been chosen by Oriental storks long time ago for building nests and breeding,” says Yuri Panin, head of the Directorate for Protected Areas and Wildlife Management of Evreiskaya province. - As a result of the inspection, taking into account the nests that went out of order for natural reasons - two nests were destroyed by strong winds and one destroyed by a fallen dry tree, 14 nests were found in that area. We equipped all newly discovered trees with nests with information and warning signs.”
Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia

Yamaha snowmobile and Mitsubishi L 200 SUV help to inspectors moving along open fields to record and count Oriental storks nesting sites. This equipment was handed over  this year to the Directorate for Protected Areas and Wildlife Management of Evreiskaya province as part of joint project of WWF Russia and VTB Bank. Like the Amur tiger, Oriental stork is a rare flag species preserved in Evreiskaya province.

Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia
The pioneer search for stork nests is only part of the work performed in the Year of the Oriental stork. For example, in the beginning of March, 4 new tripods for storks' nests were erected in Berezovsky and Muravyevsky Wildlife Refuges of Amurskaya province with support of the Directorate for Protected Areas and Wildlife Management and WWF Russia.
Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia
“In total, at the moment we have 10 tripods in the Amursky and Berezovsky Wildlife Refuges, and 8 tripods (4 wooden and 4 baskets on concrete pillars) in Muravievsky. Let's see how many “flats” will be in demand in spring! ", - said Yury Gafarov, director of public environmental organization AmurSEU".

This NGO has been actively participating in the "Stork Nest Keepers" movement for many years, initiated by WWF Russia, as well as in other conservation activities And, of course, this year "AmurSEU" became one of the key partners of WWF in the Year of the Oriental stork.

Pioneer search for Oriental stork nests is carried out in the Amur River basin
Alexander Khitrov / WWF Russia

It should also be noted that Primorye's PrimDiscouvery crew, with the support of WWF Russia began filming a documentary dedicated to Oriental stork during the monitoring of the nests in Evreiskaya province. This documentary and beautiful photos taken in remote areas by a famous animal photographer Alexander Khitrov, will tell you about the Year of the Oriental stork in the Amur River basin. 

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