Red-necked Ostrich reintroduced to the Sahara after 50 years

By | 24 May 2013

The North African Ostrich or Red-necked Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) has returned to breed in the Sahara, southern Morocco after it went extinct there some 50 years before. This is thanks to a successful reintroduction programme launched in 2008 by the Forestry Administration (HCEFLCD) and its local partners Association ‘Nature Initiative’ based at Dakhla. The Ostrich along with two other Sahelo-Saharan flagship species, namely the addax (Addax nasomaculatus) and the dama gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr), were reintroduced to the Safia reserve, located in the rural commune of Bir Guendouz (south of Dakhla). All these species are now fully acclimatised and breed in the wild (semi-captivity) in good conditions.

The Acclimatization Reserve of Safia, with an area of 900ha, was created in 2008 by the HCEFLCD, Association ‘Nature Initiative’ and other local partners (elected bodies of Aousserd province and Bir Guendouz commune) in order to reintroduce these antelopes and the Ostrich to their former habitat. The stock reserve comes from the Souss Massa National Park (Agadir) and Rmila reserve (Marrakech).

It should be noted also that in 2008, some 20 North African Ostrich chicks were also reintroduced
to the national parks of southern Tunisia from the Souss Massa National Park in Morocco. We don’t know about their success now, but our Tunisian colleagues can add more information on their status, many thanks in advance.

Video of Ostrich chicks recorded by members of the Association ‘Nature Initiative’.

Update:

A similar project was undertaken in Tunisia where some birds were released into the Dghoumes National Park in 2014. Two other groups were translocated to an acclimatisation enclosure in Sidi Toui National Park and to Orbata Faunal Reserve respectively. For more details, please see the links to the website of Marwell Wildlife in the comments section below.

North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) chicks, Safia reserve, May 2013 (Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) chicks, Safia reserve, May 2013 (Association
‘Nature Initiative’)
North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) chicks, Safia reserve, May 2013 (Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) chicks, Safia reserve, May 2013 (Association
‘Nature Initiative’)
North African Ostrich in the Sahara during the Spanish colonial era before the extinction (probably 1950s-1960s?) (Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
North African Ostrich in the Sahara during the Spanish colonial era before the extinction (Association ‘Nature Initiative’)

Association ‘Nature Initiative’ is an active local conservationist NGO that try hard to preserve the natural heritage of the Sahara by many means. They were an important actor in the reintroduction programme of these Sahelo-Saharan species mentioned above, please visit and support them in their Facebook Page here where you can see more photos of the Safia reserve.

Association ‘Nature Initiative’at the 13th Anuual meeting of the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) held in Agadir, on the 2-4 May, 2013.
Association ‘Nature Initiative’ at the 13th anuual meeting of the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) held in Agadir, on the 2-4 May 2013.
addax (Addax nasomaculatus), Safia reserve
Addax (Addax nasomaculatus), Safia reserve. (Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
dama gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr), Safia reserve
Dama gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr), Safia reserve, May 2013. (Association ‘Nature Initiative’)
Update:
When I wrote this blog-post, the word ‘launched in 2008′ was written as ‘lunched in 2008′, so it was a mistake, which was funny because the ostriches can be lunched (eaten at lunch!). Laurie, a blog follower, commented (on 2 June 2013) “‘lunched’ – I like it“, I didn’t understand his comment then (and didn’t reply!) because I didn’t notice the mistake (the omission of one letter “a” from the word, gave it a completely new meaning and in the wrong direction. I only noticed the mistake and corrected the word ‘launched’ when I wrote about the Namaqua Doves seen at Safia reserve (on 19 May 2015) during the release operation of Dama gazelle

2 thoughts on “Red-necked Ostrich reintroduced to the Sahara after 50 years

    1. MaghrebOrnitho Post author

      Thanks Marie for your comment and the information about the introduction programme in Tunisia. (I approved the comment and added an update to the blog 2 weeks ago, but forgot to reply here).

      Mohamed

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *