Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Revered Ibis surviving (just) in Syria

"Scientists have tagged three northern bald ibis, among the last survivors of a species of Middle Eastern bird once so revered that it had its own ancient Egyptian hieroglyph, in an effort to save them from extinction. Only 13 of the birds remain in Syria, Britain's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the conservation agency BirdLife International said in a news release. The birds, with their distinctive black Mohican-style plumage and long, downward-curved red bills, were once revered by pharaohs and were found throughout the Middle East, northern Africa and the European Alps. They are now classified as critically endangered, the highest level of threat, by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Until four years ago the species was thought to be extinct in Syria. The only other wild population is in Morocco."

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