The Sacred Ibis Runs Rampant in Taiwan

The African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus), a bird revered in ancient Egypt, and associated with the god Thoth, is posing an environmental threat in Taiwan. Members of the species escaped from a zoo 20 years ago and now number an estimated 1000 individuals, of whom around 500 inhabit a wetland in Changhua County. A group dedicated to the conservation of wild birds in Taiwan will join local farmers to help reduce numbers of the invasive species starting in May 2016.

The African Sacred Ibis has also been identified as a pest species in France, Italy, Spain, and the United States. The predatory species poses a threat to local species that share a similar biological niche, such as various species of egrets, Herons, and terns.

Sacrid Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) in Taiwan
The African Sacred Ibis, once revered in Egypt, but now known as a sub-Saharan species grazes in a field in Taiwan. Photo: United Daily News.
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