Posted In Conservation | 8th June 2023

Bringing Waldrapp ibis back to Europe

Dublin Zoo is proud to partner with Proyecto Eremita to help return Waldrapp ibis to Europe’s skies.

The Waldrapp ibis is currently classified as ‘Endangered’ under the IUCN Red List, with the last remaining wild population of about 700 birds found mostly in southwestern Morocco.

Image credit: Proyecto Eremita

Proyecto Eremita works to establish a sedentary, stable and self-sustaining population of Waldrapp ibis across Southern Spain. Each year, approximately 15-30 juvenile birds are selected from the European zoo population, considering their genetic suitability, for acclimatisation and subsequent release back into the wild. To date, this reintroduced population has grown to around 100 birds, which have been reproducing successfully for several years. Further work is needed to help track and monitor birds after they have been released and Dublin Zoo’s support for Proyecto Eremita has allowed them to purchase satellite tags to help monitor reintroduced birds.

Dublin Zoo is also home to a flock of Waldrapp ibis, which are part of the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP). The flock of Waldrapp ibis at Dublin Zoo have successfully hatched chicks many times, and in the future these birds could be called to return to the wild!

Image credit: Proyecto Eremita

Commenting on this partnership, Dr. Andrew Mooney, Conservation and Research Officer at Dublin Zoo said:

‘We are very excited to expand our conservation work to support the reintroduction of Waldrapp ibis across Southern Spain. This project highlights the important role of accredited zoos and aquariums in supporting species conservation efforts in the wild. The European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP), which Dublin Zoo is a part of, has provided a valuable insurance population which has made this reintroduction project possible. All of these efforts are in line with the IUCN’s One Plan Approach, which is a central tenet of Dublin Zoo’s Conservation Master Plan.’

Dublin Zoo’s support for Proyecto Eremita will help them continue their work releasing and monitoring Waldrapp ibis across Southern Spain.

Proyecto Eremita is a joint collaboration between Zoobotánico Jerez and the Ministry of the Environment of the Junta de Andalucía. For more information about their work, check out their website.

Since 2009, Dublin Zoo has spent more than €1.25 million on conservation and research activities, supporting the critical conservation work of more than 25 conservation partners across more than 20 countries on three continents. To learn more about Dublin Zoo’s conservation work, check out our projects here.