World's Biggest Bird In Threat Of Extinction

The Saharan race ostrich, largest representative of its species, has been extirpated across 95 per cent of its range. Within Niger, the bird is wiped out in the wild.

There are still roughly 100 pure-bred Saharan race ostriches in small privately-held imprisoned flocks scattered across the country. A land-locked country in Western Africa, the Republic of Niger is remarkably poor, but with some modest support those caring for ostriches can considerably improve the chances of these birds breeding fruitfully and rearing young.

Given how productive ostrich can be, there is every reason to believe that with the right material and technical support, Niger can breed desert ostrich and return them to the wild in relatively short order.

The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) is now focusing on improving the diet and promoting natural incubation until such time as Niger has the ability to manage artificial incubation and chick-rearing operations. SCF, in partnership with the AZA Ratite TAG, has developed its Adopt-an-Ostrich Programme to maintain the acquisition, care and feeding of pure-bred Saharan ostrich in Niger; to help maintain the ostrich facilities; and to improve capacity for ostrich management.

‘With your help, we can get Saharan ostrich back on the road to recovery in Niger,' said an SCF spokesman. ‘This is a great opportunity for all of us to make a connection between our interest in the Sahara and the conservation of the largest bird on the planet.'

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