Ornithological Note 43

On the Syrian status of captive Northern Bald Ibises

Nathan Ruser October 06, 2015
Country: Syria
Section(s): conservation, captivity, Status and Conservation

In 2010, six captive-reared Northern Bald Ibises (Geronticus eremita) were donated to the Syrian Government by the Turkish Ministry of Forestry in an attempt to boost the relict breeding population near Palmyra. The birds were housed in an enclosure at the nearby Talilah Reserve. In late 2010 two juveniles were released at the breeding site and migrated south, but neither of them returned. A further adult died in captivity. In May 2015, following the fall of the City of Palmyra to the ‘Islamic State’, there were concerns for the remaining birds. Although the current fate of the single remaining wild bird is unknown (and conservation groups in Lebanon are offering a reward for information of her whereabouts), in August 2015 the ‘Islamic State’ released official propaganda photographs through their Homs Province Media Office showing that least two captive birds were still being cared for.


BBC News (2015). IS threat to Syria's northern bald ibis near Palmyra. (accessible at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32872350)

Parry, J. (2011). The Punk Birds of Palmyra, Gulf Life Magazine, May 2011. (accessible at http://www.jamesvparry.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/GUL49_50_MAY_Ibis.pdf )

Serra, G. (2011). Hopes to save the most threatened bird in the Middle East. IUCN News. (accessible at http://www.iucn.org/about/union/members/?7137/Few-hopes-to-save-the-most-threatened-bird-in-the-Middle-East)

Tayyar News (2015). "أبو منجل... الطائر النادر في قبضة "داعش 
(accessible at http://www.tayyar.org/News/World/21013/بالصور--أبو-منجل----الطائر-النادر-في-قبضة--داعش-)

Two Captive Ibis as shown by the Islamic State in 2015. 

Recommended Citation

Ruser, N. (2015). On the Syrian status of captive Northern Bald Ibises. HBW Alive Ornithological Note 43. In: Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow-on.100043