The Bald Ibis




New start: Beginning of a new season and a new LIFE project

Newsletter 08.04.2022

Even though we have left our newsletters open for a long period of time, we have not been idle. Quite the contrary. We have been preparing for a new, large European LIFE project. The continuation of the project for the next seven years is now secured. Ten partners from Austria, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, under the leadership of the Zoo Vienna will continue to build up the Northern Bald Ibis population, establish new colonies, continue and expand the campaigns against illegal bird hunting and electrocution on unsecured medium-voltage pylons, and implement numerous other species conservation measures. The bald ibis population is expected to become self-sustaining within the project period. 

In 2022, there will also be hand-raising again. On April 2nd, the first chicks were taken from the Zoo Rosegg and handed over to the care of the two foster mothers Helena Wehner and Lisa Kern. A second collection took place on April 6th and with a third collection at the beginning of next week, the group should comprise a total of 32-34 chicks. The rearing will initially take place in the proven manner at the Zoo Vienna. Zoo visitors can watch the rearing live and get information about the project at an information desk. At the beginning of May, when the chicks will have reached an age of 30-35 days, they will be transferred to a training camp at Binningen airfield in Baden-Württemberg. These birds will eventually become part of the breeding colony in Überlingen on Lake Constance.

At the same time, the spring migration of wild bald ibises is also in full swing. Meanwhile, birds have already arrived in all four breeding areas north and south of the Alps – Burghausen in Bavaria, Kuchl in the province of Salzburg, Überlingen in Baden-Württemberg and Rosegg in Carinthia. In Burghausen, breeding has also already begun. It is shaping up to be a good season. Last year, a total of 36 young birds grew up in the breeding areas, this year there should be considerably more. After last year’s first breeding of the bald ibises in Überlingen on Lake Constance, we expect the first successful breeding of the wild birds in Rosegg this year. This means that there are already four breeding colonies where offspring is raised independently by our birds.


Photo: Second chick collection at Rosegg Zoo in Carinthia. From left: Emanuel Liechtenstein, director of the zoo; Lisa Kern, foster mother (foster mother Helena Wehner is meanwhile taking care of the chicks alone in Vienna); veterinarian Jean Meyer from Villach; Lynn Hafner, responsible animal keeper in Rosegg; photo J Fritz