Reason for Hope: Visit from Jane Goodall

In the last week, Jane Goodall visited the European LIFE Northern Bald Ibis project. This famous and charismatic scientist revolutionized our society’s thinking about the relationship between humans and animals with her field research on chimpanzees in the 1960s.

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

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.

COVID again

Once again, our project team has been affected by COVID infections. Despite vaccination and protective measures that go beyond the legal requirements, two people have been infected. These circumstances have made it necessary to move the bald ibis from the Zoo Vienna to the camp in Seekirchen am Wallersee prematurely on 21st April.

TARGET NORTHERN BALD IBIS: ILLEGAL HUNTING STILL CAUSES ONE THIRD OF THE LOSSES IN ITALY

Extensive GPS-monitoring of the Northern Bald Ibis (NBI) release population proves that illegal hunting is responsible for about 30% of bird losses in Italy. This substantially affects the population development and endangers the survival of the population every year. In 2021 alone, there was concrete evidence for seven kills. Since in around half of the cases, the exact cause of death cannot be determined, it must be assumed that the actual number of birds shot in Italy is significantly higher.

GERO’S CASE: A shot out of the blue

Numerous partners support the reintroduction of the Northern Bald Ibis in Europe. After successful implementation of the first project supported by the EU from 2014 to 2019, a second LIFE project started in 2022, with 10 partners in four countries under the direction of Zoo Vienna. The project LIFE Northern Bald Ibis aims to establish a self-sustaining European population with more than 360 individuals.

Offspring everywhere

This year we have Northern Bald Ibises of the European release population breeding at four different sites. The most established breeding colonies are in Kuchl, Country of Salzburg (AUT), and in Burghausen, Bavaria (GER). On both sites, birds are breeding at six nests. In the newly established breeding colony Überlingen, Baden-Württemberg (GER), this is the second breeding season with a very pleasing number of seven nests. Furthermore, we have a first breeding pair in our newly established breeding colony in Rosegg, Carinthia (AUT).