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Development in Morocco 2014


The situation for the Bald Ibises in Souss Massa are still improving.. please see report of the breeding season in 2014 

Eastern NBI still there.... Print E-mail

Northern bald ibis – the eastern population still exists…barely

February 2014

by courtesy of Ian Fisher and Chris Bowden

Our trusted fieldworker in Ethiopian highlands, Yilma Abebe, with some RSPB support, managed to spend three days at the site where the relict Syrian northern bald ibis mainly overwintered - and reported this week that three adults were seen, which is good news, given that we were fearing they had finally disappeared from the east.

The group included the female Zenobia who had previously been paired to Odeinat (who disappeared over a year ago in Saudi Arabia). Interestingly, she was accompanied by an un-ringed adult, so perhaps there’s a faint hope that they are indeed a pair, and might make it back to breed in Syria?

There was also one other lone bird sighted in the area. We await further details of Yilma’s visit, but it’s good to know there is still a faint hope for the population. As you may know, only a single adult was seen back at the Syrian breeding site last spring, and despite the problems in the country, the field team there somehow managed to continue some field checks. Our thoughts are certainly with them and their families.



Morocco 2013 Print E-mail

Best breeding season ever in Morcco 2013!


NBI marocco2013

2013 been the best season in number of pairs (118 pairs formed, 113 bred) since NBI census in Morocco)! The Population has almost doubled since 1996's mortality. Productivity has been high, 1.3 chicks/nest, and the number of fledging the second highest as far as we know. After breeding, there were no less than 443 birds in the region.

To view the whole report in French please visit the website:

report in French

report in English

Ibises visiting the waterpoints  
LIFE + Print E-mail


LIFE+ ‘Reason for Hope’ Reintroduction of Northern Bald Ibis in Europe 2014-2019

LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143

by Johannes Fritz

The project will be implemented in the following Member States:

* Austria, Italy, Germany

Runtime of the Project:

* Jan. 1st 2014 till Dec. 31st 2019

Coordinating Beneficiary:

*Association ‘Förderverein Waldrappteam’ (Austria)

* Associated Beneficiaries: AZI Alpenzoo Innsbruck (Tyrol/Austria) BGH City Burghausen (Bavaria/Germany) KLF Konrad Lorenz Research Station - Core Facility der Univeristy Vienna (Austria) PNV Parco Natura Viva  Garda Zoological Park s.r.l. (Italy) TGS Zoo Vienna (Austria) TPR Gamepark Rosegg (Austria) ZSB Zoo Salzburg (Austria) LIFE12 BIO/AT/000143

Project Objectives and Expected Results:

1.The main objective of the project is the reintroduction of the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (NBI, Geronticus eremita) in Europe as a migratory bird, including a migration tradition. This should ensure survival of the species with its characteristic migratory lifestyle. The work is based on a 10 year feasibility study along the IUCN guidelines, concluded with the establishment of a first small migratory breeding group. Experimental studies and long-time experience with free-living NBI groups have proven the sustainable survivability of NBI colonies in Europe, without conflicts with other species incl. humans. Eight partners in three countries aim to establish migratory breeding colonies in Burghausen, in Salzburg and in a third suitable place, with a common migration tradition towards a wintering area in the southern Tuscany (WWF Oasi Laguna di Orbetello). In 2019 the whole population should reach a minimum of 120 migratory birds to exceed the Minimum Viable Population Size.

2. The majority of birds will be electronically monitored by the use various types of GPS tracker, particularly during the migration journeys. Live tracking via internet and an application for Smartphones will allow the public to track a selection of birds.

3. Innovative methods and techniques for conservation, animal monitoring and science shall be implemented and further developed. We aim to initialize the application of methods and techniques used and developed in the course of the project for other endangered bird species in Europe, to support the implementation of the EC Bird Directives (2009/147/EC), and the conservation resp. reintroduction of NBIs in other regions of their former distribution range.

4. Genetic screening shall optimize the genetic variability.

5. Six human-led migrations with hand-raised juveniles will be performed, using juvenile NBI from sedentary free-flight colonies and zoo colonies.

6. Monitoring and management of the birds, including escorting of the birds during the autumn migration period, shall reduce the losses by illegal hunting (as the major threat). An information campaign for Italian hunters will be implemented, in collaboration with major Italian hunting associations. In addition, privat lawsuits will be performed against illegal NBI hunters, in collaboration with Italian key NGOs. These actions are expected to reduce the hunting pressure on the NBI on a medium time level to ensure sustainable development of the colonies. These actions should also become an essential added value for other endangered migratory bird species.

7. Public relations activities, the continuation of persistent media coverage and the increasing presence of the NBI aim to raise awareness for the species and to establish the NBI as a flagship species for the animal protection, for sustainable land use and for the value of biodiversity.

8. Continuation of substantial basic research on bird flight and bird migration.

Tagging NBI in Turkey 2013 Print E-mail

Turkish Ibis arrive at Palmyra!!

August 2013


Ibis experts Taner Hatipoglu and Lubomir Peske preparing a tagged ibis for release (photo: Chris Bowden/RSPB)

Following a successful breeding season for the semi-wild Northern Bald Ibis population at Birecik, SE Turkey, six of the birds were released as part of trial reintroductions work in late July. A dedicated team first caught up all the birds for the annual ringing/check of the birds at the Birecik ‘Kelaynak’ breeding station run by the Turkish Ministry of Nature Protection and National Parks, and six birds were selected for release in the hope that they may survive and migrate. Three of the six ibis were fitted with satellite transmitters, and to reduce the chance of persecution, their brighter rings were replaced with much less conspicuous ones. Four of the birds were 2013 juveniles and in addition two one-year old birds were also released.

For the first two weeks, the birds remained very close to the breeding station, but feeding at a number of local sites in the area, as well as taking supplementary food provided. This week however, excitement mounts as five of the birds have departed south, and the intriguing news is that they have stopped off very close to Palmyra, where the remaining wild population there has this year sadly declined to just one individual.

Whether the birds will stay in the area or continue their ‘migration’ further south, we will find out from the satellite signals. The work was recommended as a priority at last year’s inaugural meeting of the AEWA International Working Group for Northern Bald Ibis, held at Jazan in Saudi Arabia and by the International Advisory Group for Northern Bald Ibis (IAGNBI). Several partners are involved in the work in addition to the Turkish Ministry, with satellite tags provided by Doğa Derneği (BirdLife partner in Turkey), with Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and RSPB support.


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