The new road that bypasses Italy to avoid extinction –

Cut Italy due to climate change. there Bald ibis migration You will no longer follow the road from Lake Constance (between Germany, Austria and Switzerland) to Lake Orbetello in Tuscany beyond the Alps, but you will trek through the mountain range to end up in Spain in the Bay of Cadiz. Johannes Fritz, 56, explains why, a life dedicated to saving bald ibises. “Because of the high temperatures, the birds migrate late because in autumn they still find a favorable climate on the shores of Lake Constance,” explains the Austrian biologist who has been guiding migration aboard the Paramotor for about 20 years, his self-propelled parachute wing.

flying later

Instead of leaving at the end of September, they take off a month later to reach the wintering grounds. Last year, snow covered its wings in the Alps During the stop, they did not find the larvae and worms that feed on them in the frozen ground » The New York Times. “Besides, in such an advanced season, there are no longer any warm convection updrafts that they use to get up in the highlands: so they have more toil and expend more energy.” Fritz and components Waldrapp, ibis rescue project of the European Environmental Program Life20So they had to provide food for the birds, put them in some crates and carry them by weight to Orbetello, where they were then released into the WWF Oasis.

On the verge of extinction due to hunting

bald ibis (Geronticus calvus Their scientific name) until 400 years ago was widespread throughout Europe, and then almost died out. This time has nothing to do with climate or habitat loss: these birds with black plumage and a long red curved beak with a featherless head – objectively not a remarkable beauty – were hunted as a food source, Their meat was actually considered a delicacy.

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The new way

After last year’s troubles, Fritz, who has about fifteen migrations in his approach as head of ibis, decided to change course. Instead of a two-week 1,300-kilometre trek, He will drive 35 ibis along a 4,000 kilometer route. From Lake Constance you will round the Alps to the west, descend along the Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean Sea, then follow the French and Spanish coasts to Andalusia, beyond the Strait of Gibraltar on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. With a top speed of 40 km/h and with many stages, he hopes to complete the migration in six weeks.


“There are risks, I once crashed into the ground with a Paramotor,” he admits. I love that It’s not a job: it’s my life’s purposel”. Fritz grew up in the mountains of Tyrol where he saw cows and horses grazing freely in the pastures. On the verge of extinction – only some specimens are found in zoos – Since 1997 he has been able to reintroduce 277 bald scythes back into the wild. “They didn’t lose their migratory instinct, they just needed someone to show them the way. The first specimens released into the wild went the wrong way and ended up in Russia.” But neither the ibis nor the Fritzes have calculated climate change. Anyway, I’m an optimist. I’m sure the new route will work.


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