The northern bald ibis Geronticus eremita was once widespread throughout the Middle East, northern Africa, and southern and central Europe. Habitat destruction, persecution and the impacts of pesticides have led to its disappearance from most of its former range. It disappeared from central Europe > 400 years ago, but has persisted as a relict and slowly growing breeding population in Morocco, where c. 700 wild birds of all ages remain. In Algeria, the last confirmed breeding was in 1984; in Turkey the fully wild population disappeared in 1989, but a population remains in semi-wild conditions. In Syria a small population was rediscovered in 2002, only to subsequently decline to functional extinction. Restoration programmes have been initiated independently in several locations, with over 300 free-flying birds resulting from reintroduction projects in Austria, Germany, Spain and Turkey, to restore both sedentary and fully migratory populations. Maintaining current efforts in Morocco remains a high conservation priority.