Souss Massa National Park, Morocco

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Souss Massa National Park

For the western population many colonies were reported in the early 20th century in Morocco and Algeria. However the sharp decline continued and the last colony in Algeria disappeared in the late 1980s.

In Morocco about 38 colonies were reported till 1940, 15 survived until 1975 and in 1989 only 3 colonies were left in the region close to Agadir. In the early 1990s only 200 birds with 70 breeding pairs remained in the newly established National Park of Souss Massa (PNSM).

After the Souss Massa National Park was founded the Northern Bald Ibis conservation project was initialized in 1994. The convention was signed between the Moroccan Administration of Water and Forests and BirdLife International to develop a conservation plan for the species in the PNSM.

To rehabilitate the Northern Bald Ibis population in Souss Massa region the following actions are ongoing:

* To conserve the breeding sites of the NBI
* To protect the feeding areas
* To protect the known and potential roosting sites
* To prevent the accidental mortality
* To increase the breeding success
* To convince the local people and farmers of the benefits of the NBI conservation
* To integrate NBI conservation within an ecotourism concept for Souss Massa NP

Monitoring and research programs are led by the PNSM and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and the Sociedad Espanola de Ornithologia (SEO/BirdLife) provided important results including monitoring of the population, productivity and understanding of the ecology of the species (field activities). These activities and establishing additional water supplies have led to higher breeding success. Since 2003 nearly 100 nestlings fledged each year! So the western population is increasing and is now estimated about of about 450 birds (2009). There is hope that some Ibises might disperse to other sites in Morocco especially as there has been a sighting of 14 unringed NBI in the Middle Atlas in 2004.

Please visit: Northern Bald Ibis conservation program in Morocco

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