Following BirdLife's annual update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Northern Bald Ibis has been removed from the Critically Endangered category, bringing the number of bird species rescued from the brink of extinction since 2000 up to at least 26.
Pink Pigeon is another species that has been downlisted – now classed as Vulnerable – following decades of invasive species control and habitat restoration on Mauritius. However, despite the positive status changes, the IUCN Red List update also reflected the harsh reality of the growing challenges in conservation, with a host of species placed in higher threat categories.
Prior to the 2018 assessment, Northern Bald Ibis was among 222 Critically Endangered bird species, all with a genuine threat of extinction. As recently as 1998, only 59 pairs remained, almost exclusively confined to the Souss-Massa National Park in Morocco. However, a range of conservation measures – including the employment of local fishermen to protect the birds – has seen the population rise to nearly 300 individuals, some of which spread to two new breeding sites last year. Such numbers are still low and the ibis is still categorised as Endangered, but semi-wild populations in Turkey and high-profile captive release programmes in Spain offer hope of continued recovery across its former range.