Syria: Rare Bird Threatened by ISIS Occupation of Palmyra

The terrorist organization known as “ISIS” has been taking control of essential territories in the Middle East, leaving hundreds dead in their wake, and piles of rubble in place of cities and artifacts. They threaten the stability in the Middle East and test the strength of the still developing armies in places like Iraq. Most recently ISIS has captured the historically significant City of Palmyra, killing over 200 as it lays waste to the ancient city. In capturing Palmyra ISIS proves to be a new type of threat. ISIS now greatly threatens the population of an endangered species known as the Northern Bald Ibis, and without intervention ISIS will cause the total extinction of the species.


Conservation Efforts Put On Hold Leaving Ibis Helpless

Many previous efforts have been made to ensure that the bird population not dwindle to a dangerously low level, and prevent the extinction of the species. In 2013 a few of the birds were moved to Europe for the first time since all of the Northern Bald Ibis were completely wiped out in Europe due to a lack of hunting regulations and other environmental causes, forcing them to die off in the region completely. Now they face an entirely new threat from the active combat present in the Syrian city of Palmyra.

As shots ring out and bullets fly, the conservationists in Palmyra are desperate to save the last of these Northern Bald Ibis that are left from extinction. Militant groups came into the city, causing many of the citizens charged with taking care of the endangered bird to flee for fear of losing their lives. Northern Bald Ibis in Palmyra once had a population of about 11 total birds, but this has been reduced now to only 3. Left behind are 2 male and 1 female Ibis. All three have not been moved out of Palmyra, because there is an egg that has not hatched, and cannot be moved without risking damage to the single egg that the 3 remaining birds have produced. ISIS proves to be a grave threat to the inhabitants in the Middle East, and to the historical artifacts that they will destroy. Although the fate of the 3 Northern Bald Ibis left behind is unknown, if there is no intervention to prevent the further destruction of Palmyra, it is likely that these 3 will prove to be the last of their kind.