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Friendly power lines

The "accessible nest" program for a rare Far Eastern stork

Specialists of the branch of PJSC FGC UES - the Amur Main Power Grid Enterprise help to preserve and enhance the species included in the International Red List (IUCN). The number of the Far Eastern, or black-billed stork on the planet has decreased threefold over the past 40 years, in the Far East of Russia, in China, Korea and Japan, there are 4 thousand of them.  

Friendly power lines
Photo: Alexander Hitrov

Photos in material: Alexander Hitrov"PrimDiscovery"

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Relations between power engineers and Far Eastern storks have been tense since the day when the first bird pair chose the power transmission line over the traditional tree. Nests of storks made of twigs and clay weigh under 200 kilograms. Not every tree can do this, and the plains in the Amur Region are not particularly wooded. The birds moved to reliable, firmly standing on power transmission lines, which raised the nests to an almost unattainable height from predators - bears. This brought great trouble to the power engineers; repair teams were frequenting the fields. For storks, family life with electricity nearby was also unsafe. Specialists of the federal grid company tried to scare off the birds with special anti-invasive devices - "hedgehogs", but stubborn birds built nests on them too. Then the power engineers found a way out.

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"We have been interacting with the Far Eastern stork for a long time, for more than a decade, and for this time we have developed a whole range of measures for the safe living of birds on power lines and ensuring the uninterrupted operation of our networks. Even a few, because the time goes by, something more efficient, something less. It was in FGC UES that they came up with a special site for nests on the power transmission lines, which became a very successful project! " "PrimDiscovery" Alexander Krivosheev, director of the branch of JSC FGC UES - the Amur enterprise of backbone electrical networks.

The project "Let's Save the Far Eastern Stork Together" is being implemented by FGC UES engineers with WWF Russia and the Russian Geographical Society. On the poles with power lines, experts are assembling sites for nests, a kind of foundation for creating strong stork families. The platforms are placed away from high-voltage wires. In the stork habitat, special protective equipment was installed on 52 out of 59 power lines. In 2018, half of the population of the Far Eastern stork has already moved to metal "forests" in the Amur Region. Only 10% of such sites are empty. In total, more than 26 thousand safe structures have been installed in the Far East.

Solving the "housing" issue is not the only way to help the Far Eastern stork. And although the bird weighing about 4 kilograms and about 120 cm in height has few natural enemies (bears and poachers ravage the nests), the species is sensitive to pollution. The stork is a symbol of the ecological well-being of the area. But if harmful substances appear in water, soil or air, birds cannot hatch eggs and breed full-fledged offspring. In addition, these birds are monogamous, and in the event of the death of a partner, they do not always find a replacement for him.

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"2018-th year is named the World Wildlife Fund as the Year of the Far Eastern Stork. More than 90% of its nests are in Russia. Last account of black and white was made 13 years ago, it's time to understand what we came to during this time, and again tell about the need to protect this species. Felling of trees, pollution of reservoirs, poachers, fires - because of the human impact on the ecosystem, the population of the Far Eastern stork is declining, and now people have the task to help "- says Anna Barma, senior coordinator for the specially protected natural areas of the Amur branch World Wildlife Fund (WWF) of Russia.

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Photo Shoot: Mikhail Parilov

The Far Eastern storks are also helped by the “Stork Nest Keepers” - 30 people and 5 curator organizations who take care of 130 nests. The World Wildlife Fund has provided them with everything they need.

Ecologists carry out ringing of birds, their census and registration of nests, processing of habitats from fires and fires, protection of populated trees from predators. The project of FGC UES with the installation of platforms on supports in many ways simplified this work. In April 2018 specialists launched a bird version of the show "Houses 2" - Internet-project «Stork online»... The camera was installed next to one of the nests near the village of Tambovka, Amur Region, at a height of 20 meters. The project has been tentative and has been suspended for now, but viewers are hoping for a continuation. 

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