Damascus: A rare bird in Syria is being feared extinction because of the seizure of Palmyra by Islamic State Militants
It was in 2002 that a tiny breeding colony of the northern bald ibis was found near the city.
Three birds held in captivity were abandoned last week as their guards fled off due to the the IS fierce fighting. Nobody has viewed those birds after that. The condition of the birds is unknown now.
Officials have offered a reward of $1,000 (£646) for information regarding the whereabouts of a fourth bird.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon said that it was too crucial to trace out the missing female bird, called Zenobia.
Head of the society Asaad Serhal said that nobody could bring back a species from extinction because of the ongoing war in the region.
She is the only bird who knows the migration routes to wintering grounds in Ethiopia and without her other captive birds cannot be released.
According to ornithologists, the species could go extinct in the wild in Syria.
The species was thought to have extincted in the region until seven birds were found nesting near Palmyra more than 10 years ago.
But despite being protected superbly, their numbers were decreased to just four wild birds. This year only Zenobia has made a return to the site.
Information regarding the another three rare birds in captivity were not clear. Nobody knows whether they are still safe or alive.
The fall of Palmyra was just days after the seizure of the major Iraqi city of Ramadi.
The capture of the World Heritage site next to the modern city of Palmyra has been raised international alarm.
IS militants have already destroyed several antique sites in Iraq.
Most recently the ancient city of Nimrud, one of Iraq’s greatest archaeological treasures was reported to have demolished by the IS fighters.
Video on the IS threat to rare bird in Syria