First Syrian bird book launched
The first dedicated field guide to the birds of Syria was recently launched. Written in Arabic, it has been jointly produced by the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife (SSCW) and BirdLife International and covers a total of 394 species including Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus (Vulnerable) and Critically Endangered Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius.
“The release of the ‘Birds of Syria’ field-guide gives a significant rise in hopes to protect threatened birds in the country, and gives opportunity for the growing conservation efforts in Syria” said Dr Akram Darwish – Vice Chair of the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife.
A growing interest in Syrian birds by local and foreign ornithologists has demonstrated the need for a local guidebook. This important publication will be used to encourage an interest in Syrian birds, and provide a reference work for those engaged in surveys and wildlife conservation programmes.
“‘Birds of Syria’ … gives a significant rise in hopes to protect threatened birds in the country” —Dr Akram Darwish, Vice Chair of SSCW
“This comprehensive local-language guidebook will be an important conservation tool not just for Syria, but the whole of Arabia”, said Ibrahim Khader – the Regional Director of Middle East secretariat of BirdLife International.
"We are delighted to see the launch of this new guide for the Birds of Syria and hope that it will help to encourage a new generation of active ornithologists and conservationists in Syria", commented Dr Kathy MacKinnon from the World Bank - a funder of the new book. "The World Bank recognises that field guides are important tools for disseminating information and has now supported production of more than 100 guides worldwide in local languages".
Formerly widespread throughout North Africa and into the Middle East, Critically Endangered Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita was thought extinct in the Middle East in the 1990s before a colony of just six birds was found in Palmyra, Syria in 2002. The bird now features on the front of the new the book, and is also the focus of a new website set up to aid conservation of the species.
The website has been set up by the International Advisory Group for the Northern Bald Ibis and aims to support scientific research, field projects and bring governments and non-government organisations together. People interested in the news website should visit www.iagnbi.org
‘Birds of Syria’ was funded by the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), the Ornithological Society of the Middle East (OSME), the Small Grant Program (SGP) in Syria, Avifauna (Sweden), The World Bank, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more information on the book and how to order, please contact the Syrian Society for the Conservation of Wildlife at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Credits: SSCW; BirdLife International