Dry spell threatens baby stork population in Germany

Animal experts fear mass mortality of baby storks in Germany due to unseasonably dry weather this summer.

Dry spell threatens baby stork population in Germany
Don't let the sun go down on wee storks. Photo: DPA

“We fear that it will be a bad year for storks,” said German nature protection agency NABU leader Winfried Böhmer on Tuesday in Vetschau, adding that the situation has become “dramatic.”

According to Böhmer, of the average four to five chick nest, only one to two are surviving. Their stork parents are pushing the chicks from their nest because food is scarce.

“Worms and snails aren’t around because of the dry spell,” Böhmer said.

Normally abandoned stork chicks are adopted by other storks, but this year’s food shortage has overcome the entire population, Böhmer said.

Head of the nature protection center Storchenschmiede Henrik Watzke said that of the three to five hatched chicks, normally half survive, but not this year.

This year has been especially hard on the population because in addition to food, stork parents must also bring water to their nests. Smaller chicks are unable to reach the water before their siblings and become so weak they are pushed from the nest, he said.


2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

Europe's blistering summer may not be over yet, but 2022 is already breaking records, with nearly 660,000 hectares ravaged since January, according to the EU's satellite monitoring service.

2022 sees record wildfire destruction in Europe: EU

And while countries on the Mediterranean have normally been the main seats of fires in Europe, this year, other countries are also suffering heavily.

Fires this year have forced people to flee their homes, destroyed buildings and burned forests in EU countries, including Austria, Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Some 659,541 hectares (1.6 million acres) have been destroyed so far, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) showed, setting a record at this point in the year since data collection began in 2006.

Europe has suffered a series of heatwaves, forest fires and historic drought that experts say are being driven by human-induced climate change.

They warn more frequent and longer heatwaves are on the way.

The worst-affected country has been Spain, where fire has destroyed 244,924 hectares, according to EFFIS data.

The EFFIS uses satellite data from the EU’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the climate crisis is hitting Europe hard

The data comes after CAMS said Friday that 2022 was a record year for wildfire activity in southwestern Europe and warned that a large proportion of western Europe was now in “extreme fire danger”.

“2022 is already a record year, just below 2017,” EFFIS coordinator Jesus San-Miguel said. In 2017, 420,913 hectares had burned by August 13, rising to 988,087 hectares by the end of the year.

“The situation in terms of drought and extremely high temperatures has affected all of Europe this year and the overall situation in the region is worrying, while we are still in the middle of the fire season,” he said.

Since 2010, there had been a trend towards more fires in central and northern Europe, with fires in countries that “normally do not experience fires in their territory”, he added.

“The overall fire season in the EU is really driven mainly by countries in the Mediterranean region, except in years like this one, in which fires also happen in central and northern regions,” he added.