The Syrian population of northern bald ibises is teetering on the edge of oblivion. In fact, the whole species is Critically Endangered - one step away from extinction. In 2002, the Syrian population stood at seven birds. But despite extensive protection in Syria, numbers are down to three this year.
But help is at hand - the Turkish Government has donated six ibises to join the Syrian colony, two of which have been released this year.
And to learn more about these enigmatic birds, we'll be following the migration of two of the Turkish ibises and three of the ibises from Syria. You can follow their progress on this map.
We hoped the Turkish ibises would join the wild Syrian birds on their migration and become part of the colony. The Syrian General Commission for Al Badia Management has also built aviaries, where some of the Turkish ibises will be kept for breeding to bolster the colony's numbers by releasing their offspring in future years.
We've already found out that the adult ibises travel to Ethiopia for the winter, but we're not totally sure where the youngsters go. A team of biologists is also attempting to find the birds on the ground, to record details of their habitat and make sure that no illegal hunting takes place.
Hunting and other pressures away from the breeding grounds seems to have been the cause of decline. So satellite tracking the birds is a vital tool for learning how to help the northern bald ibis - the only other wild population is 100 pairs in Morocco.
This international operation couldn't happen without with conservationists, governments, researchers, funders and individuals all working together.
Recent weeks have not revealed any major movements. Salama is still in the Ethiopian highlands, although her transmitter has gradually slowed as is usual during this period, and although we've not had a signal since 10 Sept, this is not a worry (the solar-powered transmitters need more sun and longer flights of the birds to remain charged). Perhaps most surprising is that Odeinat is still in southern Saudi Arabia, and quite close by to Amina (whose radio is also showing signs of slowing down, unlike Odeinat's which is still going strong). Ishtar has now completely stopped transmitting. A team in Saudi Arabia from SWC will hopefully be trying to relocate the 2-3 birds on the ground there in the coming days. Is Zenobia (untagged) still with Odeinat we wonder? Is Amina ever meeting up with Odeinat since they are in the same area?
Note that the tags usually start working better once the birds are on the move, so we may not get the full picture until February, but we'll continue to update for the birds/tags that transmit. We'll also update on any sightings of course.