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Proyecto Eremita, Spain

Proyecto eremita xxx jerez-1 x Junta-de-Andalucia
“Proyecto Eremita” aims to evaluate the efficiency of different releasing techniques in La Janda area, Cádiz, Southern Spain. The basic method chosen is hand-rearing using “characterized foster parents”, i.e. human foster parents who wear black T-shirts and hats topped with a model ibis head to minimize the risk of imprinting on human beings. The study will be assessed by it’s success in establishing a sedentary, self-sustained, free-flying colony in this area during the project timeframe from 2003 until 2008.
As part of this project a study was carried out to see whether there would be advantages to rearing NBI with cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis). No negative impact between the two species, no imprinting on each other and no significant behaviour differences between the groups of ibis (reared with and without cattle egrets) occurred, however both groups acted as single ones when released. Therefore cattle egrets were not used in 2006 due to the fact that no major benefit was observed with this methodology.

As a further technique a smaller group of young parent-reared birds were incorporated into the group of the hand-reared birds. This happened when the birds were kept in the aviary during the dispersal period. Then the birds were released to fly freely in the release area of El Retin. So far the hand reared birds have survived best. In 2008 one pair bred successfully in a cliff close to the study area.