Balbuzards du Parc National d'Al Hoceima  


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Posidonia, the WWF Mediterranean newsletter

for the community of environmental organizations

in the Mediterranean.

VOL 7 NO 4, SUMMER 2007



 A recently announced plan to  construct a road in Al Hoceima, Morocco threatens habitat crucial for the survival of animal and plant species listed under the IUCN red

list. The local delegation of the Ministry for Infrastructure at Al Hoceima has chosen to build a section of a new land-sea route through the cliffs of Er Moud–Tara- Youssef, which will destroy an area of high ecological interest. This project clearly infringes upon the National Policy for Coastal Protection, as well as several

international conventions that have been ratified by Morocco.

It is also against the royal decree which established the Al Hoceima

National Park in 2004. The local NGO Association Azir has produced a

report advocating less destructive development alternatives which are

technically possible. The report has been distributed to the Head of the

Province of Al-Hoceima and responsible national ministries 


Nibani Houssine

Association AZIR


Nouvelles des oiseaux

Projet de recensement de balbuzards nicheurs dans le Parc National d’Al Hoceima, Maroc.

Le Parc national d’Al Hoceima, dans le nord du Maroc, abrite une population de balbuzard encore mal-connue. La dernière estimation date de 1993. Un projet vise à protéger l’espèce via notamment une sensibilisation des scolaires dans un premier temps et ensuite du grand public.
Au printemps 2007, un recensement des balbuzards a commencé, sous l’égide d’AZIR / Pnud Fem/ pmf et Houssine Nibani.
Une partie de l’archipel fut prospecté en bateau en mars 2007 avec le concours du personnel de la Réserve de Rutland Waters, Angleterre.
Un site Internet, actuellement en construction, peut être visité pour une description du projet et avec des images du milieu :
Nous souhaitons bonne chance à cette initiative et espérons que d’autres acteurs de la protection du balbuzard dans le bassin Méditerranéen pourront apporter leur concours, expérience et savoir faire afin que ce projet soit une réussite. Pour les personnes désireuses d’apporter leur concours et d’aider aux recensements et prospections, s’adresser à Houssine Nibani (

Rolf Wahl LPO Mission Rapaces

Un travail sur le recensement de la population des Balbuzards a commencé avec la communauté des ornithologues anglais " Mrs Tricia and Mr Barrie Galpin a bien voulu nous faire lier au site spécialisé des Balbuzards " Ospreys " dont voici l'adresse

Resident Ospreys at Al Hoceima

In the UK we are used to Ospreys building nests in trees. In Morocco, as in Corsica and elsewhere, they build nests on prominent rocks and cliff faces. Because of the terrain at Al Hoceima most nests are only visible from a boat. Just one or two can be seen from land - thanks to AZIR for the pictures of nests below. The bird on the right, a juvenile, was rescued from the sea after it had got into trouble one summer. After it had dried out it was released successfully.

pair on cliff
Osprey on nest
A rescued juvenile

In early 2007 a survey was begun to locate as many nests as possible. The photos below show some of that work in progress.

Survey from a boat

Environmental education and research in the coastal areas of Al-Hoceima province, Morocco
Houssine NIBANI

Location Country Categories Date
Morocco , , , , , 1 Mar 2002

Although it is one of the poorest provinces of the northern Morocco, the province of Al Hoceima hosts one of the most astonishing coastal biodiversity clusters of all the Mediterranean. The almost forty kilometres of steep rocky cliffs dropping into the sea are home to hundreds of pairs of endangered bird species, and create an unbelievable submarine landscape hosting hundreds of species from the smallest invertebrates to the rare Monk Seal.

The area is almost untouched by humans from the land because of the steepness of the cliffs, but there is a large fleet of commercial fishing vessels which ply this coast.  This coastal core area is currently covered by a weak provincial protection status and together with other relevant marine zones of the province, act as a ‘lung’ for the commercial fish stocks targeted, and several important nursery areas have been identified. Due to the weak protection status and the lack of proper monitoring, the access of damaging bottom trawlers and the use of explosives for fishing is not prevented. Siting of garbage dumps on cliff tops along the coast is also causing problems through pollution, run-off etc.


  Contact the team at 

In 2005 Houssine won the Hassan II Prize for environment.  For more information go to