Home
 
 

RSPB Northern Bald Ibis given new hope

 
 

In the time of the pharaohs, the Northern Bald Ibis was revered as a god, Thoth. But now this bird has become the rarest in the Middle East — with just three wild individuals in Syria, plus one juvenile reared this year.

The Turkish Government (Nature Protection and National Parks) has now donated six semi-captive birds from Turkey, which have been taken to Syria in the hope that they can prevent the disappearance of the wild Middle Eastern population. Two of these have been fitted with satellite transmitters and been carefully introduced to the wild birds, in the hope they will follow their lead and ultimately bolster the precariously small population. The remaining birds will be kept in purpose-built aviaries for breeding and future releases of juveniles.

Bald Ibis
Bald Ibis, Morocco (Photo: Steve Wilce)

Formerly thought to be extinct in the Middle East, in 2002 researchers discovered a tiny population of just seven birds near the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, their last known refuge in the region. The number had dwindled to just three this year, despite extensive protection in Syria. There is increasing evidence that hunting and other pressures outside the breeding grounds have driven this decline, and satellite tracking the birds is a major tool for understanding and addressing the problems. You can follow the progress of these birds online.

Bald Ibis
Bald Ibis, Morocco (Photo: Rudi Debruyne)

The satellite transmitters will allow researchers to monitor their movements — it is known the adult birds spend the winter in Ethiopia, but the wintering grounds of the juveniles is incompletely known. A team of biologists will also be attempting to locate the birds on the ground, and to record habitat details and ensure that no illegal hunting takes place.

The Northern Bald Ibis is Critically Endangered (the very highest category of threat) and in addition to the tiny Syrian population, the bird has two further wild colonies, in southwest Morocco, where the population totals just 100 breeding pairs.

Bald Ibis
Bald Ibis, Morocco (Photo: Rudi Debruyne)

Ali Hammoud, Director General of Syrian GCB, said: "This is by far the biggest conservation partnership in the region to save the tiny ibis colony from the brink of extinction. With such collaboration, and despite of the challenges, the supplementation attempt is already a triumph."

Yasar Dostbil, the Director of Nature Protection and National Parks Directorate, in Turkey, added: "This is one of the best conservation studies ever carried out on a species seriously threatened with extinction. We are very glad to be a part of these efforts."

Related pages

Bald Ibis Bald Ibis


Related articles

RSPB Careless disposal of plastic bags puts marine birds at risk RSPB Careless disposal of plastic bags puts marine birds at risk
A Red-throated Diver has been seen with a plastic bag in its beak in the Outer Hebrides. read on read on
RSPB Delight as Loch Garten reaches Osprey milestone RSPB Delight as Loch Garten reaches Osprey milestone
Loch Garten is poised to celebrate the 100th Osprey being raised on site. read on read on
RSPB Pesticide analysis underlines need for more sustainable farming RSPB Pesticide analysis underlines need for more sustainable farming
A major review of systemic pesticides, led by a group of leading scientists, has confirmed these chemicals are already causing significant damage to a wide range of beneficial invertebrate species. read on read on
RSPB First successful breeding of Marsh Harrier on Isle of Wight RSPB First successful breeding of Marsh Harrier on Isle of Wight
Marsh Harriers have successfully hatched chicks at the RSPB's Brading Marsh reserve. read on read on
RSPB Glimmer of hope for England's Hen Harriers RSPB Glimmer of hope for England's Hen Harriers
England's most threatened bird of prey has taken a small step back from the brink of extinction, with three active nests this year. read on read on


The information in this article was believed correct at the time of writing. BirdGuides accepts no responsibility for errors, or for any consequences of acting on information in the article. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily shared by BirdGuides Ltd.

hide section Reader comments (0)

Latest edition Latest edition
Search articles Search articles
All articles All articles
Popular articles Popular articles
 
   
 
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Terms of Sale | Cookie Policy | About us | Advertise | Contact us
BirdGuides, Warners Group Publications PLC, The Chocolate Factory, 5 Clarendon Road, London N22 6XJ
© 2014 BirdGuides and Warners Group Publications plc. All Rights Reserved. Company Registered in England no. 2572212 | VAT registration No. GB 638 3492 15
Sales: or tel. 0800 919391 · International Sales: +44 (0)1536 273532 · Office: or tel. 020 8826 0934
 
   

Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites