Polish storks making major contribution to revival of UK stork populations
These stunning sunset photos of Polish storks were taken a few days ago at the Knepp Estate in the UK, where the elegant birds are leading a significant rewilding project aimed at restoring wild storks to the UK.
The Knepp Wildland Project in West Sussex, was initiated in 2016 with the first transfer of 20 juvenile Polish storks from Warsaw Zoo in December that year.
Since then, the Wild Stork Project has seen the arrival of several cohorts of storks from Warsaw Zoo, with more planned in 2021.
Dr Agnieszka Czujkowska, co-ordinator of the stork transfer at Warsaw Zoo and director of the zoo’s bird sanctuary, told TFN: “The birds transferred from Poland for the Knepp Wildland Project are wild storks which have been rehabilitated at our dedicated bird sanctuary ‘Ptasi Azyl’ following injuries and were unable to be released into the wild
“The next transfer of storks from Warsaw Zoo is planned for Spring 2021 when we hope to send several dozen more to Knepp.”
One of the Polish storks, a female from the first 2016 cohort, was part of a successful breeding pair with an incoming vagrant stork, in April last year, causing much excitement as it was the first time in 600 years that storks had hatched in the UK.
The project is hoping the success will be repeated again this year.
Aside from simply restoring storks to the UK, the project hopes that the birds will bring tourism and economic value to local communities based on promising conclusions drawn by Mikołaj Czajkowski and other Polish researchers, in their study on ‘The economic value of White Stork nesting colonies in Polish ‘stork villages’’.
The collaboration between Knepp Estate and Warsaw Zoo is ongoing and has been signed for 10 years and the aim of the project is to restore a population of at least 50 breeding pairs in the South of England by 2030.