Day 89 of #the100dayproject and my #realandendangered project. Rounding out the 80s with the Northern bald ibis (also known as the Waldrapp ibis), this is a bird now reduced to only two populations in the wild, one in Morocco with a relict population in Syria and the Middle East. Here's some more information: 1. They have a distinct look, which includes a bald head and bare red face, neck and throat and curved beak which contrast with narrow feathers on the back of the head and neck, forming a dark ‘ruff’ or crest. Glossy blueish-purple feathers (with a metallic green hue) cover the rest of the body. 2. Not only were they first described in the 1550s, but they have appeared in Egyptian hieroglyphs. 3. They prefer semi-arid steppe areas and breed on coastal cliffs. 4. Their colonies usually consist of 40 individuals. 5. Their nostrils are located at the base of the bill, which allows them to breathe even while the bill is submerged in the water.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature currently lists them as "critically endangered." Their numbers have declined in part due to human activity (hunting, habitat loss, pesticides - specifically DDT, etc) and natural events, like climate cooling. Conservation efforts have been in place since the 1970s, especially in terms of captive breeding. Currently in Central Europe, this species is extinct in the wild, but the Waldrapp team is working with birds in captivity and hopes to release 129 back into the wild in Europe by 2019. As of 2017, over 1,000 individuals of the western population exist in captivity worldwide, but only 200-249 exist in two wild populations. That is why another key conservation factor is creating sites that can thrive and receive nesting and feeding protection. This species also has countries, organizations, and individuals fighting for its survival across its current and former range and with the luck of the captive breeding programs, there is hope for the Northern bald Ibis. #enmlillustration #thesadhappy #digitalart