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Backup power services give way to rare birds

SHIJIAZHUANG -- Residents in Tangshan, North China's Hebei province, may face power outages as State Grid has decided to give way to intruders in the high-voltage facilities -- rare birds.

Some 30 oriental white storks have nested on power towers between two 35-kv transformer substations that are used as backup power for over 5,000 households in Fengnan District.

Nine pairs are hatching eggs in the nests, said Wang Xiaoli, manager of the Fengnan District branch of State Grid Corporation of China.

The oriental white stork is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Natur[MG_SEO]e (IUCN). The wild population is estimated at less than 5,000.

The large birds flapping their wings near power facilities may lead to a short circuit, and also put themselves in danger, Wang said.

Wang said workers will increase maintenance on the major power supply to avoid having to launch the backup power to help protect the species.

"We will find them a new home after the young chicks grow old enough to fly away," he said.