Condors rebound to record numbers

Natural Resource News Note

For the first time in the 30-year history of preserving the California condors their population hit over 400. Their numbers have been recovering from California, Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona. The new figures mean that the California condor could be delisted as a species.   Katy Muldon of The Oregonian reported on the unique role Oregon is playing int he recovery:

“…the species faces steep challenges, and the Oregon Zoo program, which has hatched 35 chicks altogether, has had a tough spring.Among eight eggs laid, three chicks have survived with one more due to hatch around June 9. One egg was infertile. One contained an air bubble that destroyed vesseling, so the embryo died. Two other late-stage chicks died despite efforts by zoo staff to help them hatch; the veterinarian sent tissue samples to a lab to try to determine what went wrong.

“We know their yolk sacs looked odd. They were enlarged,” said Kelli Walker, senior condor keeper. “But nothing on the necropsy was obvious…But the bald-headed birds whose wings span nearly 10 feet and who can live up to 60 years were almost wiped out by 1982, when only 23 remained in the world.Five years later, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and partners captured the remaining wild condors and placed them in breeding programs at the Los Angeles Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise established the third breeding center, and the Oregon Zoo built its condor barn and flight pens in 2003, welcoming its first breeding pairs that November.”

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