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13 - Back into European Wildlife

The Reintroduction of the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita)

from Part III - Saving Species

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2018

Allison B. Kaufman
University of Connecticut
Meredith J. Bashaw
Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania
Terry L. Maple
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
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The northern bald ibis is a migratory bird with the characteristic fate of many extremely rare species: critically endangered in the wild, but prospering in captivity. From 1949, individuals from former colonies in the Moroccan Atlas were kept in European zoos. Currently, there are more than 2000 individuals in numerous zoo breeding colonies around the world. At the same time, the wild populations have dramatically declined. The last Syrian individual with the species-typical migratory lifestyle disappeared in 2014. In the same year, the reintroduction project of the Waldrappteam (Waldrapp is the German name of the species) turned into a large and popular European conservation project, co-financed by the European Union’s LIFE program, the EU's financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation, and climate action projects throughout the EU. The reintroduction of a migratory northern bald ibis population in Europe is still the focal point of the activities, but the scope of the project is far beyond that. The main added values are campaigns against illegal hunting and electrocution of migrating birds, as well as basic research on bird flight and bird migration.
Scientific Foundations of Zoos and Aquariums
Their Role in Conservation and Research
, pp. 339 - 366
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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