Northern Bald Ibis

The Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) or Waldrapp Ibis is classified as Critically Endangered due to a long history of decline over at least four centuries, having formerly been distributed over much of north and northeast Africa and the Middle East. Two genetically distinct populations have been identified. The main western population occurs in Morocco with around 100 pairs. A relict population of two pairs persists in Syria and some semi-wild birds occur in Turkey, providing a precarious opportunity to keep the eastern population going in a truly wild state. It is thought that birds used to winter in Sudan, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

The main threats to the Northern Bald Ibis have been a combination of direct persecution as well as loss of steppe habitat and non-intensive agricultural areas. Also changes in farming on the feeding grounds, illegal buildings and disturbance close to the breeding cliffs may have a severe impact on the population.

In order to halt the decline of the Northern Bald Ibis across its range, international cooperation is a must. To this end, an International Single Species Action Plan for the Conservation of the Northern Bald Ibis has been adopted under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA). The principal range states for the species coordinate the implementation of the Action Plan within the framework of the inter-governmental AEWA Northern Bald Ibis Working Group.