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First North African Ostrich nest in the wild in Morocco

North African Ostrich (or Red-necked Ostrich) nests in the wild in Morocco for the first time in decades.

In Morocco, the wild population of the North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) experienced a significant decline in the 19th century, leading to its complete disappearance by the second half of the 20th century. Note that while the species survived in Oued Dahab into the second half of the 20th century, it disappeared much earlier from the rest of the country.

To restore the species to its former habitats, the Moroccan Forestry Administration initiated an ambitious reintroduction program three decades ago. In 1996, approximately thirty ostriches were relocated from Chad to Souss-Massa National Park (PNSM) for the purpose of increasing the stock-population and lay the groundwork for the reintroduction program. This effort resulted in the creation of the largest semi-captive population of the North African Ostrich in the Sahelo-Saharan region.

In recent years, ostriches from this semi-captive population have been translocated to various regions within the species’ historical range in Morocco.

In February 2023, the National Agency for Water and Forests (ANEF) carried out the release operation of 16 ostriches into the Iriqui National Park, located in southeastern Morocco. Unlike some other reintroduced populations, such as at Safia reserve, which are in semi-captivity, the Iriqui population is totally free.

This spring, just a year after their release, a significant milestone in the reintroduction process was achieved with the discovery of the very first nest of the North African Ostrich in the wild.

Nest of the North African Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus), Mhamid region, south-east Morocco, March 2024 (Mohammed Znari).
North African Ostrich nest in the wild, Mhamid region, south-east Morocco, March 2024.
Nid d’Autruche à cou rouge (ou d’Afrique du Nord) dans la nature, région de Mhamid, sud-est du Maroc, mars 2024 (Mohammed Znari).

1 thought on “First North African Ostrich nest in the wild in Morocco”

  1. La réintroduction d’une espèce animale est un travail de longue haleine. L’ANEF au Maroc a réalisé un travail convaincant avec persévérance et enthousiasme dans le cas de l’autruche d’Afrique du Nord. Un exemple qui donne espoir. Un grand MERCI à tous les intervenants.
    AS

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