1 Tahrcountry Musings: New Hope For Northern Bald Ibises

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Hope For Northern Bald Ibises

Northern Bald Ibis is considered to be Middle East’s rarest bird. The bird was thought to be extinct in the Middle East in the 1990s. Fortunately in 2002 a colony of six birds was discovered in Palmyra, Syria. RSPB and BirdLife Middle East swung in to action immediately. Adult and young birds were fitted with satellite tags to try to discover and protect their migration routes and wintering sites. Conservationists were delighted to hear the news that Northern bald ibises were seen last month in the Jordan Valley for the first time in 13 years, and in Djibouti, east Africa, for the first time ever. These two sightings of the species 1,500 miles apart have given a boost to the conservation efforts. Scientists now think that that the number of birds could be more than estimated. It also deepens the mystery of where the birds go on migration. Tracking adult birds was successful in 2006. Three birds flew a total of 3,700 miles to the Ethiopian highlands and back last spring. Scientists hope to tag more young birds in Syria this summer. Conservationists fear lots of birds are being shot down on migration. Tracking the birds will help protect them throughout their range.

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