The Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita has had an eventful and turbulent relationship with humans that has resulted in a graph of its population decline that matches its iconic red down-curved beak.
But latest breeding successes resulting from work of BirdLife Partners and the Government of Morocco gives hope for a harmonious relationship again in the future.
The large glossy-black bird once had an extensive range that spread across North Africa, the Middle East and Europe and has been idolised by humans as a symbol of fertility and virtue. Yet ironically human pressures have caused it to struggle breeding, and its dramatic range-reduction renders it classified today as Critically Endangered: reaching an all-time low at the end of the 20th Century with only 50 breeding pairs remaining. Today, 99% of the remaining wild birds are found in Morocco.
With that in mind, it is a great pleasure to announce that colonies in Morocco have had record reproductive success this year - the symbol of fertility now managing to live up to its tradition!
For the third year in a row, the colonies at Souss-Massa National Park and nearby Tamri, both Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas in south-west Morocco, formed a record number of breeding pairs, reaching 116 pairs in 2015.