Posted by: Dan | September 28, 2010

Teaching the Bald Ibis to migrate

© Wardene Weisser / http://www.ardea.com

Apparently taking a cue from Operation Migration’s efforts with Whooping Cranes, there now appears to be an effort to reintroduce the critically endangered Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) to parts of Europe. These birds were driven extinct there in the 1700’s after collectors scaled cliffs to take chicks and eggs. It is now one of the rarest bird species on the planet. There remains just one large colony in the wild of about 350 birds on the Moroccan coast.

The current plan is “to teach the birds, which have an aversion to flying and bad sense of direction, the instinct to fly the 400-mile journey to Tuscany, Italy, in autumn and back to the Austrian Alps in spring on their own,” according to The Telegraph. As with the Whooping Crane project in the US, they’re attempting this by using microlight planes to teach the Bald Ibises to migrate once again. And so far it seems to be working, but the project appears still in its infancy, having started only in 2007.


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