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North African Ostrich eggs unearthed at Bir Anzarane, southern Morocco

Three intact eggs of the North African Ostrich found near Bir Anzarane in Oued Dahab region.

Trois œufs intacts d’autruche d’Afrique du Nord trouvés près de Bir Anzarane au sud du Maroc.

North African Ostrich eggs found near Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region (Mohammed Fathi).

In mid-May 2019, ‘Nature Initiative Association’ member Mohammed Fathi found three intact ostrich eggs at Taguerzimt near Bir Anzarane, Oued Dahab region. The unbroken eggs were buried in the soil and still in good condition. Mohammed was on a routine inspection tour in the area when he found the eggs.

According to the Association Nature Initiative, this is the first time they found unbroken ostrich eggs with this quality.

The North African Ostrich was still abundant in Oued Dahab region in the 1940s and 1950s (e.g. see the undated photo below taken during the Spanish colonial era). However, the numbers quickly dwindled before the species went extinct. Last breeding records were in the 1960s, and a pair may have bred there as late as early 1970s (in Thévenot et al. 2003 – Birds of Morocco).

North African Ostriches in the Western Sahara, southern Morocco, during the Spanish colonial era before the extinction of the species in the region.
Autruches d’Afrique du Nord (ou à cou rouge) dans le Sahara occidental au sud du Maroc, pendant l’époque coloniale espagnole avant l’extinction de l’espèce de la région (Association ‘Nature Initiative’).

We should recall that the Moroccan Forestry Administration, in partnership with the locals including Nature Initiative, brought a number of North African Ostriches to the Safia Acclimatization Reserve. This was the first phase of the planned reintroduction of the species into its former habitats.

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