The white stork, Ciconia ciconia, is a popular species around Europe and was for a long time a symbol of the southern Swedish agricultural landscape. But the last pair breed in Sweden in 1954, and after that the stork vanished from the Swedish fauna. The white stork died out in Sweden due to wetlands being drained in favour of arable land. In Skåne, 90 per cent of the wetlands that existed at the start of the 19th Century have been drained, and since it was here that the stork found its food, it quickly disappeared.
Draining is the principal cause of the species’ decline throughout western Europe. To bring the stork back to Sweden, the Swedish Stork Project was launched in 1989. It is run by Skåne Society for Nature Conservation, together with Birdlife Skåne. Its goal is to re-establish a wild and migratory stork population in Skåne. In order to accomplish this, the project is rearing and releasing stork pairs and fledglings to build up the wild population.
For several years, Nordens Ark has been working with the Stork Project in Skåne to build up a wild stork population in Sweden. Every summer, on the last Saturday in July, young birds born at Nordens Ark are sent down to Skåne to be released, together with hundreds of other storks. This stork release has been going on every year since 2011. In 2018, Nordens Ark expanded its engagement with this species by increasing the number of breeding pairs kept at the park so we can contribute with even more young birds to the project.
Since the 1990s, white stork numbers have increased throughout Europe, and the species is now making a comeback in Sweden after being absent as a breeding bird for several decades. This is happening thanks to the release project and the creation or restoration of wetlands. A few dozen stork pairs are now breeding freely in Skåne, and wild storks can be seen throughout southern Sweden.
In association with
The Swedish Stork Project