Neue Hoffnung für den Waldrapp?
Ber. nat.-med. Verein Innsbruck 81: 209 – 215
In 1991 a new method for releasing Waldrapp Ibises Geronticus eremita into its natural habitat was tested in a pilot study of the Alpenzoo Innsbruck/Tyrol. Our project was based on ethological results of long-term studies concerning the complex social system and the tight family bonds of this colonial bird. Based on the knowledge, that young Waldrapp Ibises have a very close contact with their parents usually up to the next breeding season a group of chicks was handreared by two human foster parents to produce parent imprinting. Being guided by their foster parents up to their independence the birds got familiar with the habitat, learned foraging and avoiding dangerous situations whilst enjoying permanent protection. At the end of the project the ability of the birds to orientate, their feeding behaviour, choice of food and use of habitat was nearly identical to that of Waldrapp Ibises in the wild. The successful pilot study is considered to be the basis for a releasing program in a protected area of southern Spain.