Good endangered bald ibis news from Morocco

This 2013 video shows Part of a flock of over 90 northern bald ibises in the Sous Massa National Park in Morocco.

From BirdLife:

Record breeding success for Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis

By Shaun Hurrell, Fri, 20/11/2015 – 07:00

The Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita has had an eventful and turbulent relationship with humans that has resulted in a graph of its population decline that matches its iconic red down-curved beak.

But latest breeding successes resulting from work of BirdLife Partners and the Government of Morocco gives hope for a harmonious relationship again in the future.

The large glossy-black bird once had an extensive range that spread across North Africa, the Middle East and Europe and has been idolised by humans as a symbol of fertility and virtue [More: The Hieroglyph]. Yet ironically human pressures have caused it to struggle breeding, and its dramatic range-reduction renders it classified today as Critically Endangered: reaching an all-time low at the end of the 20th Century with only 50 breeding pairs remaining. Today, 99% of the remaining wild birds are found in Morocco.

With that in mind, it is a great pleasure to announce that colonies in Morocco have had record reproductive success this year – the symbol of fertility now managing to live up to its tradition!

For the third year in a row, the colonies at Souss-Massa National Park and nearby Tamri, both Important Bird & Biodiversity Areas in south-west Morocco, formed a record number of breeding pairs, reaching 116 pairs in 2015.

“Despite challenges of funding wardens to protect the colonies, we managed to maintain the momentum of this project through 2015,” said Jorge Fernández Orueta, SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife Partner in Spain), who works on a project to save the Northern Bald Ibis through BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme.

“Breeding success is also especially high, reaching 1.7 fledglings per pair”, said Professor Mohamed Dakki, President of GREPOM (BirdLife in Morocco). “Post-breeding counts are also exceptionally big, with almost 600 birds – all the best recorded since detailed monitoring began and the establishment of Souss-Massa National Park 25 years ago!”

Apart from the Moroccan colonies, there is a tiny remnant population in Syria and a semi-wild population left at Birecik in Turkey, as well as experimental release work in Austria and Spain.

The BirdLife Partnership has really come together to save this species. We are proud to be contributing to the conservation of this last viable, wild population of this species in the world through five BirdLife Partners*; with the support of several institutions, notably the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the BirdLife Species Champion for the Northern Bald Ibis. Souss-Massa National Park authority is responsible for work in the field and a longstanding conservation project since 1994.

During the time of this project, GREPOM became a BirdLife Partner.

“We are proud to now take on a leading role in the conservation of this globally-important species, and want to ensure the Moroccan people are just as proud,” said Professor Dakki.

“We also would like thank all Birdlife Partners and especially the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for their continuous and notable support. A major part of this breeding success is thanks to considerable efforts made by Mohamed El Bekkay, Director of this Souss-Massa National Park, and Widad Obrou, responsible for ibis monitoring there.”

Through the project’s range of communication, awareness-raising and livelihoods-support activities, local people are increasingly taking ownership of the conservation of this iconic species. If you drive the coastal road in this region of Morocco you are likely to see Northern Bald Ibises painted on wall murals or used in local logos of local cooperatives.

As well as diligent monitoring, community wardens and staff of Souss-Massa National Park provide daily fresh water for the birds (which increases their breeding success) and patrol to prevent disturbance – including overseeing the increasing number of ecotourists who come to see the birds.

There is an urgency for a stronger formal protection status of the colony at Tamri, and to secure wardens for next season.

Professor Dakki concluded: “We thank also the High Commission of Waters and Forests for giving high conservation priority to Sous-Massa National Park, which was especially created to protect this legendary bird.”

“Together, we hope to find in the near future additional breeding sites for the ibises.”

In another important development for the ibis’s conservation, a revised International Single Species Action Plan has just been adopted under the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) of the Convention on Migratory Species, at AEWA’s 6th Meeting of Parties.

*BirdLife is proud to be contributing to the management and conservation of the last viable, wild population of Northern Bald Ibis in the world through: BirdLife in Spain), RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) and, GREPOM (BirdLife in Morocco), in conjunction with High Commission for Water and Forest and Fight Against Desertification (Government of Morocco); and through support from SVS-BirdLife Switzerland and VBN (BirdLife in the Netherlands), with the support of several institutions, notably the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the BirdLife Species Champion for the Northern Bald Ibis through the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme. Souss-Massa National Park authority is responsible for work in the field and a longstanding conservation project since 1994.

This year, GREPOM (BirdLife Morocco) has taken on a leading role to protect the future of the Northern Bald Ibis in Morocco which is, given 99% its wild population is found in Morocco, very important for protecting the future of this Critically Endangered species globally.

I was privileged to see these beautiful birds while in Morocco.

Vultures’ autumn migration from Spain to Morocco

This is a Rüppell’s vulture video from Africa.

From Moroccan Birds blog, with photos there:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

More than 400 Griffon Vultures and 1 Rüppell’s Vulture migrating at Jbel Moussa

More than 400 Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) crossed today the Strait of Gibraltar at Jbel Moussa and Punta Cires (Dalia). They were first detected circling and gaining altitude near Algarrobo (between Tarifa and Algeciras in Spain) by telescope at 10H50min. The first group started to cross at 11h22min and started to arrive to Morocco at 11h56min (with slight westerly winds). They were four groups of 238, 83, 18 and 70 vultures.

In late afternoon we met Jose Antonio Barba Ramos who visited us from Murcia, and he told us that he observed about 300 vultures at Cazalla near Tarifa of which a group of about 100 were about to cross the Strait at 15h00min (Moroccan time).

One Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) also crossed with the griffons but was not seen in the field but was detected when Rachid El Khamlichi was processing the photographs.

A week ago, more than 3500 Griffon Vultures were recorded at Jbel Moussa after crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.

Moroccan women not convicted for wearing miniskirts

Moroccan women demonstrate for the right to wear miniskirts

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

No punishment for wearing miniskirt in Morocco

Today, 14:18

Two young women who were prosecuted because they wore miniskirts in Morocco at a market have been acquitted. The judge found that they have committed no offense. The prosecutor had already called for acquittal.

The women of 23 and 26 years old were harrassed in the town Inezgane by two boys. They thought, like some market vendors, that the women behaved immorally by their way of dressing. When the women called the police, not their assailants were arrested, but they themselves.

The arrest sparked uproar in Morocco. In several cities, people took to the streets to demonstrate for more freedom. Men and women put photos on the Internet of themselves in skirts. They called the persecution of the women an attack on individual freedom and gender equality.

The public prosecution department will now consider whether they will prosecute the two boys for assault.

See also here.

Moroccan women protest anti-miniskirt policies

This French language video is about a 6 July 2015 demonstration by women in Tunis, Tunisia, for the right to wear a miniskirt.

After a maxiskirt ban in Belgium and France … and after a shorts ban for women in Israel … after miniskirt bans in Italy, New York City, and Hungary … now Morocco.

From Morocco World News:

Moroccan Women Wear Mini-skirts in Protest Against Arrest of Two Women

Saturday 27 June 2015 – 09:52

Rabat- Many Moroccan women are publishing pictures of themselves wearing mini-skirts to show solidarity with two women facing charges of “gross indecency”.

Several Moroccan women turned out for the protest against the arrest of two women in Inezgane, a suburb of the southern city of Agadir. The two women were arrested “gross indecency” for wearing “tight and immoral” clothes.

Women participating in the virtual protest posted pictures of themselves on social media wearing miniskirts to support the two women—hairdressers aged 23 and 29– whose trial has been set for July 16.

“Although I believe that online campaigns do not result in a significant impact, but I decided to participate in solidarity with the two victims, and also because I myself suffer from harassment when I wear short clothes,” one woman who participated in the campaign told news website Hespress.

“Wearing a skirt is not an offence against the society’s public morals and does not question its history and traditions,” another woman told the Arabic-speaking website. It is a component of identity and a symbol of femininity that has existed since ages.”

“What has changed is the way we look at women which must be changed because women are part of the process of building the country and not a subject of guardianship. Criminalizing the wearing of skirts will only lead to the legitimization of violence against women,” she added.

Three sit-ins are also expected to be held this week in Agadir, Rabat and Casablanca to denounce the trial of the two women.

Two Facebook pages have been created to support the ordeal of the two young women. In both of them, many Moroccan women share pictures of themselves wearing minis-skirts with the hash tag “mettre une robe n’est pas un crime (wearing a skirt is not crime).

Yesterday, 6 July 2015, the two women appeared in court. There were solidarity demonstrations with them in various Moroccan cities.

An Internet petition supporting the right of Moroccan women to wear miniskirts is here.

Opposition to miniskirts is colonialist: Zimbabwe vice president: here.

The Great Bustard: Past, Present and Future of a Globally Threatened Species

Originally posted on North African Birds:

Alonso, J.C. 2014. The Great Bustard: Past, Present and Future of a Globally Threatened Species. Ornis Hungarica 22(2): 1–13.  DOI: 10.2478/orhu-2014-0014

Abstract & Full Text PDF (Open Access):

Great Bustards are still vulnerable to agricultural intensification, power line collision, and other human-induced landscape changes. Their world population is estimated to be between 44,000 and 57,000 individuals, showing a stable demographic trend at present in the Iberian peninsula, its main stronghold, but uncertain trends in Russia and China, and alarming declines in Iran and Morocco, where it will go extinct if urgent protection measures are not taken immediately. Our knowledge of the behaviour and ecology of this species has increased considerably over the last three decades, allowing us to control the major threats and secure its conservation in an appropriately managed cereal farmland. This species became ‘The Bird of the Year’ in Hungary in 2014.

Except from the…

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Swifts on their way to Europe

This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

One of the birds of a pair of Swifts breeding on three eggs in one of my nest boxes just entered with some nesting material. Recorded May 28th 2012.

The British Trust for Ornithology reports, on Twitter today, about Morocco:

European Swifts flying high over Marrakech. They are on their way!!!!