Syrian ibis photo exhibition
A photo exhibition depicting the story of the Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita was opened last week (8 February 2006) in the Old Town of Damascus, aimed at promoting conservation of this Critically Endangered bird and creating a sense of ownership of the project to the Syrian authorities.
This successful event was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture & Agrarian Reform (MAAR) in conjunction with BirdLife’s Middle East Division, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, BirdLife in the UK) and the Syrian Society for Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW). Generous support was provided by the British Embassy.
The exhibition entitled Bald Ibis in the Syrian Desert: Natural and Cultural Heritage under Threat was inaugurated by the Agriculture Minister.
During the three-day event, visitor numbers exceeded more than a thousand people from different sectors in the country, with great interest in the ibis from the general public.
Addressing the opening ceremony, the Minister said that the exhibition gives the true story of the species as a natural and cultural heritage symbol of Syria’s Al Badia region. He also acknowledged and thanked BirdLife’s support in conserving and protecting the ibis in cooperation with the local community. The ceremony was attended by the ambassadors of UK, Italy and Iran, and high officials of Syrian Ministries, UNDP, the private sector and other NGOs.
The photos were taken by Gianluca Serra (Conservation Biologist) and Mahmud Abdallah (MAAR ranger) who worked together in the Palmyra project during 2000-2004, contributing to the discovery of the species in Syria and its subsequent protection. Gianluca generously offered his photos and services in the preparation of the exhibition on a voluntary basis. The photos feature portraits of the Northern Bald Ibis and its natural breeding habitat, along with local Bedouins living in and around the Palmyra area – the breeding ground of the species.