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More than 150 Oriental stork nests in the Amur basin are protected from fires

15 november 2021
Seasonal fire-prevention treatment for trees with Oriental stork nests is under way in Amurskaya and Evreiskaya provinces. WWF Russia has been supporting this work of public and state environmental organizations in the Amur basin for over 15 years.
In the mid October, Oriental storks and cranes breeding in the Amur basin headed for their “winter apartments”: white-naped cranes migrate to Izumi Island in Japan, their main wintering site, red-crowned cranes fly to South China and the Korean Peninsula. Oriental storks, as always, will winter in the Yangtze River basin and on Poyang Lake, the place of concentration of millions of migratory birds.
The time, when Amur wetlands become deserted, is the best to start fire-prevention treatment for trees and artificial supports, which Red Listed birds use for building nests. However, grass fires remain the main threat to this rare species. Annually in autumn, specialists mow and remove dry grass and shrubs around trees with nests so that fire could not reach them. In order to avoid their damage and destruction, the tree trunk is treated with a special firestop spray, which protects the wood both from fire and decay, prolonging its life.
Stork nests are protected from fires in Amurskaya province
WWF Russia
This work initiated by WWF Russia together with the “Stork Nests Keepers” public movement more than 15 years ago is carried out in the Amur basin on a regular basis and is bringing good results.
According to Anna Serdyuk, Ph.D., senior coordinator on protected areas at WWF Russia Amur branch, Chair of the Russian Working Group on Oriental Stork Conservation: “Over the past 20 years, the number of Oriental storks in the Russian part of the Amur basin has doubled and now is estimated at more than 950 breeding pairs. Our colleagues from China register about 6,000 Oriental storks on wintering sites. These indicators are the result of colossal efforts of state and public organizations to preserve the rare species. The lack of trees and artificial supports with nests remains one of the problems to be solved in the near future. Every tree that can withstand the weight of the stork's nest counts. It is important to highlight that thanks to the regular fire-prevention treatment, the loss of trees with nests damaged by fires in the Amur ecoregion has been reduced to almost zero.”
Fire-prevention treatment is carried out in key habitats of the Oriental stork with the largest number of registered nests is. In Amurskaya province these are territories of Amursky and Berezovsky wildlife refuges. According to Anton Sasin, Ph.D., the coordinator of the Oriental stork conservation projects at NGO AmurSEU, the staff of the Directorate for Protected Areas Management of Amurskaya province and AmurSEU already prevented from fires 43 trees, removed dry grass and treated them with a firestop spray. The next area of work is Muravyevsky Wildlife Refuge. Usually, Oriental storks build their nests in remote places, which are difficult to reach both by car and on foot, and this year the situation became even more complicated due to high water. Therefore, the all-terrain vehicle Dobrynya was of a great help in the field.

Fire-prevention treatment for trees with Oriental stork nests

The public organization “Khingan Keepers” and the staff of the Khingansky Nature Reserve were involved in fire-prevention treatment in another important breeding site - the Khingan-Arkhara lowland. 41 nests were prevented from fires here.

In Evreiskaya province, the public organization “Bagulnik”, members of the “Stork Nests Keepers” movement and the staff of the provincial Directorate for Wildlife and Protected Areas Management carried out fire-prevention treatment for 62 trees with nests. According to Yury Panin, the head of NGO “Bagulnik”, in November they plan to prepare 12 more trees. 14 more breeding sites were prevented from fires during a joint raid of “Bagulnik” specialists and engineers of DRSK power grid company, a branch of Electric Networks of Evreiskaya province. The work on fire prevention will continue before the first snowfalls. 

62 stork nests are protected in Evreiskaya province
NGO "Bagulnik"
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