Other global conservation efforts
Nordens Ark’s conservation work encompasses small projects as well as the larger ones.
European ground squirrel
The European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) is one of Europe's most endangered mammals. The species lives on the grasslands of central and southeastern Europe. Until the 1950s, the ground squirrel was common, but as the steppe lands were cultivated and the proportion of grazing animals which keep the landscape open also decreased, large parts of the ground squirrel's habitat also disappeared. Today, they live on golf courses, playgrounds, airports, campsites and small scale plantations - areas where they are rarely very welcome. This has led to the species being listed as critically endangered on the international red list and in need of active conservation efforts to save it. To preserve the species, active release projects are underway in several different countries around Europe. To help re-establish the species within its former distribution area, in 2021 Nordens Ark sent young ground squirrels born in the park to a release project in the Czech Republic.
Please read more about the project on their website: https://www.zachranneprogramy.cz/en/european-ground-squirrel/
The bald ibis (Geronticus eremita) was once spread over large parts of North Africa, the Middle East and even southern Europe. It became extinct in Europe a few hundred years ago and has since disappeared from one area after another. The threats to the species are mainly lack of habitats and extensive illegal hunting. Today, the only stable population of bald ibis is in Morocco, but thanks to active conservation efforts, the species has now slowly begun to regain parts of its former range in Europe. In 2018, the bald ibis was upgraded from acutely endangered to "only" being critically endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). One of the projects fighting to save the bald ibis is the Proyecto Eremita. The project works to bring the species back to Spain, among other things through breeding and release. Nordens Ark supports the project by sending bald ibis born in the park for release.
The Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) is the largest of all subspecies of leopard and originates from Asia. At the beginning of the 20th century, the subspecies was common along the Caucasus, but due to increased human impact, it has decreased drastically in number since the 1950s. The Persian leopard is today a highly endangered feline where the main population of 550–800 individuals is found in the Iranian mountains as well as a few small isolated populations in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Armenia. In Russia, the Persian leopard is considered extinct with fewer than ten individuals left in the wild, and there is no hope that the population will be able to rebuild itself. Therefore, in 2009 a world-unique release project for the Persian leopard was started in the Russian Caucasus with the help of zoo-born individuals and cared for wild-born individuals. A breeding and planting center was built in Sochi National Park where leopards are trained to survive in the wild. In 2020, Nordens Ark sent a breeding pair of Persian leopard to a breeding facility in Sochi National Park, where they are part of the work of re-establishing a population of Persian leopard in the Russian Caucasus. The hope is that all their future cubs will be released into the wild.