Zoo champions most endangered bird

A Northern Ibis bird  five of which reside at Blackpool Zoo

A Northern Ibis bird five of which reside at Blackpool Zoo

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Blackpool Zoo’s work as species champion for one of the world’s most endangered birds has been celebrated in a new report.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA) has compiled the document, which outlines the top 10 bird species surviving because of zoos.

The list includes the critically-endangered Northern Bald Ibis, five of which call Blackpool Zoo home.

Richard Wardle, Bird Keeper at Blackpool Zoo and BIAZA Northern Bald Ibis species champion, said: “Our conservation work for animals across the world is vitally important to the survival of species under severe threat of extinction.

“The number of Northern Bald Ibis remaining in the wild is extremely worrying and the European zoo community, under the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums umbrella, work together to ensure a genetically diverse bloodline within the captive population through a carefully managed breeding programme.

“Recent conservation projects have even seen captive bred birds being released into the wild, which is a cause for huge celebration.

“The BIAZA report will create further awareness about the excellent work carried out by BIAZA members every single day of the year.”

As its name suggest, the Northern Bald Ibis doesn’t have any feathers on its head. It genus name, ‘Geronticus’ is derived from Ancient Greek and means old man, referring to its wrinkly, bald face and head.

With only around 600 left in the wild, the species has undergone huge decline in the past 30 years due to habitat loss and disturbance of its breeding grounds.

Blackpool Zoo supports already-established projects and uses the work of Birdlife International and the RSPB to educate visitors on this and other endangered species.