'Reason for Hope'

Reintroduction of the Northern  Bald Ibis in Europe

Range and population size

 

Historical populations:

Once, the Northern Bald Ibis was - alongside the Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus - the Ibis with the northernmost range. There is historically confirmed evidence of Northern Bald Ibises in Central Europe in Switzerland, Austria (Mönchsberg near Salzburg, Schlossberg at Graz) and Southern Germany (Überlingen, Passau, Kelheim). Presumably, the former range included also Northern Italy, Spain, Hungary, the Balkans and Greece. 

Alongside the European Populations, Northern Bald Ibises also occured along the Mediterranean coast; until today, this species is or rather was a breeding bird in Morocco, Turkey and Syria. 

In the first half of the 17th century, the Northern Bald Ibis disappeared in Europe, mainly due to the intense persecution - even of nestlings - by humans. The hunting of this species was strictly regularized with the dramatic decline of the populations, which, however, couldn´t compensate the negative population development. 

Actual populations:

The Northern Bald Ibis as migratory bird is - apart from a single individual in the Middle East - extinct. One sedentary, non-migrating colony of wild Northern Bald Ibises lives along the Atlantic coast in Morocco (Souss Massa National Park, Morocco). Other sedentary and partially human-dependent colonies live in Turkey, Spain and Austria (Konrad‐Lorenz‐Forschungsstelle, Austria). According to the IUCN, the Northern Bald Ibis is critically endangered (IUCN Red List Category C2a(ii)). Captive zoo populations are, however, increasing; by now they include about 2000 individuals. The offsprings of zoo populations and sedentary colonies provide the basis of scientific and conservative projects. 

Alongside the Waldrappteam there is another project for the reintroduction of Northern Bald Ibises, although as sedentary, non-migratory population: Proyecto Eremita, Spain