Species conservation project LIFE20 NAT_AT_000049| LIFE NBI


A second LIFE-project for the reintroduction of the Northern Bald Ibis will be implemented from 2022 to 2028. Ten partners from four countries (Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland) are involved under the leadership of Zoo Vienna. The company Waldrappteam Conservation and Research is in charge of the overall management of the project and the implementation of five human-led migrations for the release of juvenile birds. The objectives of the project are in particular to further increase the population in the project area to ≥357 migrating individuals in order to exceed the calculated minimum size for an independently viable population. Four new breeding colonies will be established for this purpose, located both north and south of the Alps. Losses in Italy due to illegal hunting are to be reduced from around 31 % at the start of the project to less than 25% in the end. Losses due to electrocution on medium voltage pylons are to be reduced from currently 45 % of all losses to below 38 %. For this purpose, extensive international campaigns with the Northern Bald Ibis as flagship species and the retrofitting of about 160 unsecured pylons in Austria will be implemented. Furthermore, synergies with habitat conservation policies are to be created and the reassessment of the Northern Bald Ibis status in the European Red List (currently listed as regionally extinct) will be initiated. In addition, transfer and replication activities will be carried out, including an annual networking event at Zoo Vienna and three replication workshops on innovative methods of the project.



Species Conservation Project LIFE+12-BIO_AT_000143 | LIFE Northern Bald Ibis

2014-2019 (finalised)
A first LIFE-project was implemented between 2014 and 2019. Seven partners from three countries (Austria, Germany, Italy) were involved under the leadership of the Austrian Förderverein Waldrappteam (ZVR 017715608). Waldrappteam Conservation and Research was in charge of the overall management and reintroduction of juvenile birds in the context of human-led migrations. At the end of 2019, the reintroduced migratory population consisted of 142 individuals, spread over three breeding colonies in Burghausen (Bavaria), Kuchl (Land Salzburg) and Überlingen am Bodensee (Baden-Württemberg). The common wintering area is WWF Oasi Laguna di Orbetello in Tuscany (Italy). The reproduction rate in the colonies Kuchl and Burghausen increased steadily throughout the project period. In 2019, 37 juveniles fledged in these two breeding areas. Waldrappteam Conservation and Research carried out six human-led migrations, starting from the three breeding colonies in Germany and Austria and with the wintering area in Tuscany as destination. A total of 162 young birds were released in this context. Thanks to the implemented measures, the loss rate due to illegal shooting in Italy could be reduced by about 50 %. With around 1,000 press articles and around 60 television reports, the project received considerable international media coverage. The project team also published a number of scientific papers in high-ranking scientific journals.


FWF P30620

FWF Research Project Costs and Benefits of Formation Flight of Birds (P 30620)

2018 – 2021 (finalised)
It has long been assumed that the main function of formation flying is to save energy by using the updraft generated by the bird in front. This assumption is often presented as established fact in the literature, although so far only supported by theoretical models and simulations. Empirical data have been largely lacking due to a lack of adequate technical capabilities. Waldrappteam Conservation and Research has been researching formation flight in Northern Bald Ibises for many years in the context of human-led migrations and in cooperation with various partners. However, direct evidence for the energy saving hypothesis was still lacking. Energetic measurements during migration flights were therefore an essential objective of the research project. In addition, the mechanisms of social cooperation and their stability were investigated.

Cooperating partners

FWF P20633

WF Research Project on the Flight Physiology of Migrating Northern Bald Ibises (P 20633)

2008 – 2011 (finalised)
In this research project, the physiology of bird migration in free flight was investigated using the example of the Northern Bald Ibis. For this purpose, physiological studies were conducted during human-led migrations to gain a better understanding of the physiology and energetics of the flight of migrating birds.

Cooperation partner