ISIS, or the Islamic State, could soon be responsible of eliminating a rare bird off the face of the earth. The terrorist group has perpetrated the extinction of Northern Bald Ibis, a rare bird in Syria.
Declared as extinct over 70 years ago, ornithologists were pleasantly surprised to discover seven members of the species still alive in Palmyra, one of the most ancient cities in Syria. Though the group was immediately placed under protection, the bird’s numbers dropped to four. Then another key member, named Zenobia, disappeared. Being a migratory species, the Northern Bald Ibis Birds lost the only member that knows the species’ migration route to Ethiopia.
As if such setbacks weren’t enough, the last remaining 3 members are being threatened with extinction by ISIS. As the terrorist group captured Palmyra, the bird’s guards fled the premises, leaving behind the rare Northern Bald Ibis. Lack of protection and food will undoubtedly cause the extinction of the bird, said Asaad Serhal, head of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon,
“Culture and nature they go hand in hand, and war stops, but nobody can bring back a species from extinction. Finding Zenobia is critical because without this bird, other captive birds cannot be released, raising threats of the species’ extinction in Syria.”
The northern bald ibis is a majestic bird. The large predatory bird sports a glossy black body measuring about 30 inches in length. With an impressive wingspan of about 53 inches, the bird can cover great distances riding the wind-patterns. The migratory bird features a distinctive long, red, and curved beak, which aides it in plucking small animals from the vast fields dotting the regions of its habitat. Currently, the bird is classified as ‘Critically Endangered’. The last of the large flocks, numbering about 500, can be found in Morocco.
The ISIS has cruelly destroyed multiple historic sites and as such, is not expected to help preserve the species. The barbaric terrorist organization took over Palmyra, which UNESCO considers “one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world,” late last month. As per reports released by U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), ISIS may be controlling more than half of Syrian territories after the fall of Palmyra.
Along with some of the most ancient ruins, the Northern Bald Ibis may surely be destroyed, fear ornithologists.
[Update] As reported by the Ecologist, the Northern Bald Ibis has gone extinct. Interestingly, it seems the ISIS wasn’t solely responsible for pushing the bird towards extinction. The rest of world could be blamed for turning a blind eye.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]