Transneft Far East has joined the events held in Khabarovsk Territory within the scope of the Year of Oriental Stork.
Transneft Far East, which transports oil via phase II of the Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean oil trunk pipeline (ESPO PS-2), together with representatives of Zapovednoye Priamurye, the Ministry of Natural Resources of Khabarovsk Territory and the Institute of Water and Ecological Problems of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) has finished monitoring nesting spots of oriental storks (Ciconia boyciana) at Aistiny state regional nature reserve.
2018 has been declared the Year of the Oriental Stork by WWF Russia and Amur Coalition of 23 environmental protection organisations comprised by non-governmental organisations from Amur and Jewish Autonomous Regions as well as from Trans-Baikal, Khabarovsk and Primorye Territories. Estimating the population of this rare bird included into both Russian and international Red Books is the main event of the year.
Acording to experts’ estimates, as of now, more than 90% of oriental storks’ nests are located in Russia, in the Amur River basin, and the total global population of this rare bird does not exceed 4,000 storks. The large-scale enumeration throughout the breeding ground will help specify the headcount.
“The latest census in Russia took place 13 years ago, so we have a huge amount of work. It is good that, apart from state and non-governmental environmental organisations, we have companies joining the census in the Year of Oriental Stork. Like Transneft Far East does in Khabarovsk region, upon agreement with Zapovednoye Priamurye. The Company helped conduct the census at Aistiny nature reserve,” said Anna Barma, Conservation Area (CA) Project Coordinator at Amur branch of WWF Russia.
The joint monitoring revealed that the reserve still has 12 stork couples, the same amount as in 2011. The ornithologists regard this as a positive trend. Aistiny nature reserve is a conservation area of more than 19,000 hectares. It was formed in Vyazemsky and Imeni Lazo Districts of Khabarovsk Territory, in the interfluvial zone of the Khora and Podkhorenka Rivers thanks to implementation of the ESPO-2 investment project in 2010.
In 2011, Transneft financed mounting 10 artificial poles for big birds’ nesting in the reserve. After the oil pipeline was brought online, Transneft Far East’s environmental safety and rational nature management section started monitoring the poles. The section’s specialists annually check the technical condition of the poles and repair them in the case of any damage. The artificial nests are not inhabited yet, but ornithologists believe they will be, over time. As recommended by experts, this spring, PMC ESPO, a subsidiary of Transneft, financed construction of two more poles for storks.
The oriental stork is deemed to be a natural indicator of sweet-water ecosystems of Amur ecoregion. Being the final link in the food chain, the bird responds to floodplain siccation, alteration of climate and pollution of water and soil with agricultural chemicals. The latter is to blame for mass disappearance of storks in Japan and South Korea, which happened in the last century. In Russia the birds mainly suffer from natural fires that destroy trees suitable for nesting and drastically decrease food reserve for storks.