One of the biggest logging companies in northeastern Primorye, Russia, is working with biologists to help preserve Blakiston's fish owl populations, according to a new study.

"This commitment to fish owl habitat protection by a logging company is significant," Sergei Surmach, an ornithologist at the Russian Academy of Sciences and co-author of the study, said in a news release.

Researchers looked at the greatest proportion of suitable fish owl habitat in a 7,804-square-mile study area and found that 43 percent of it is leased to logging companies. Only 19 percent of the area is protected by nature reserves.

Now, the logging company, OAO Amgu, is working with fish owl advocates to identify and select areas on land that need to be preserved to assure owl survival. This includes large trees for nesting and stretches of river where the owls can hunt for salmon.

"If OAO Amgu and their parent company, TerneyLes, protect all fish owl habitat under their purview, the number of fish owl territories currently protected in the region would triple, and result in the protection of nearly half of all potential fish owl home ranges in our study area," Jonathan Slaght, co-author and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Russia Projects Manager, said in a statement.  

Researchers also recommended that logging companies close unused logging roads to further reduce wildlife disruption. TerneyLes began working with WCS to implement such closures in the region by destroying key bridges and blocking vehicle passage. This reduces illegal logging, poaching and the overall risk of human-caused forest fires.

"We are always looking for ways to balance the needs of the economy and endangered species like fish owls," Surmach added in the release. "And in this case, everybody wins."

Project findings were recently published in the journal Bird Conservation International

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Samantha on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13