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Sahara Conservation Fund’s

Saharan Red-Necked Ostrich Recovery Program in Niger

A project of Wildlife Survival Fund: Investing in endangered species before it’s too late.



Geographic Location

Region of Zinder, district of Kellé, Niger

Focal Species

North African ostrich

IUCN Red List Status of Focal Species

Critically endangered (This subspecies of ostrich is included in CITES appendix I. It is not included in the IUCN Red List of endangered species but only because the list does not include subspecies of birds.)

About the Project

The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) is working with the international zoo community, the Republic of Niger, and a local NGO to restore the Saharan red-necked ostrich, Struthio camelus camelus, to the wild through captive breeding and reintroduction in Kellé, Niger. It is the largest bird on our planet. Extirpated across 95% of its range, it is already locally extinct in many range states, including Niger. SCF and its partners have worked to raise awareness about its plight, identify pure-bred founder stock in private hands locally in Niger, develop an in situ captive breeding program, and engage the local community in the restoration of this bird to free-ranging status using captive-bred birds from the breeding center established for this purpose. Steady progress is being made; the condition of the flock has steadily improved on a balanced ration using locally sourced ingredients. The birds are thriving, producing eggs in ever-increasing numbers, and for the past two consecutive years they have hatched and successfully reared their first chicks through natural incubation and parent-rearing.

Project Mission: To raise awareness about the plight of Sahelo-Saharan wildlife through the development of a community-based captive breeding and reintroduction/restoration project for an iconic regional species, the Saharan Red-Necked Ostrich.


Ostriches at Woodland Park Zoo

On the plains of the zoo’s African Savanna exhibit, you’ll find ostrich roaming among a mix of species, including giraffe, zebra, gazelle and oryx.