The waldrapp is a critically endangered species of ibis that was once found over southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East, but now are almost entirely limited to Morocco in the wild. This article published in The Guardian last week highlights the difficulties of conservation efforts:
- If they don’t take flight in the first autumn of their life, they usually settle into a sedentary existence. And even the mobile ones are far from fleet. When they are motivated to take flight, they need almost ideal conditions to get anywhere. A stiff tail wind is best; a headwind is a deal-breaker. Generations of poor self-motivation and even poorer stamina (their top speed is 35 kph, and during migration the young require ample recuperative days off) seem to have robbed the birds of one crucial instinct: an innate sense of direction. They still have a powerful migratory instinct; they just cannot be counted on to find their way. “Early attempts to study their southerly migratory patterns were a disaster,” says Fritz. “We had reports of them showing up in the Netherlands, Poland. One made it as far as St Petersburg.”
You have to admire how hard people work to protect species from going extinct. So often there is so much going against them.