Meymey (pronounced “MAY-may”) is one of the California condors on exhibit in Condor Ridge at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. He has been on exhibit since Oct. 23, 2007, the day after the Witch Creek Fire swept through the Park and destroyed one of our Condor Breeding Facilities. Meymey’s pen was one of the structures destroyed, so we decided to put him in the exhibit.
Meymey hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1996, but has lived at the Wild Animal Park since he was 7 months old. His parents are Sequoia (male) and UN-1 (female). Sequoia was hatched in the wild in 1984 in a nest in a Sequoia tree and then taken to the Los Angeles Zoo as a nestling. UN-1 was the first condor to lay a fertile egg in captivity in 1988 and at the Wild Animal Park.
Meymey was not released to the wild because, when he hatched, his family’s genetic line was considered underrepresented. With his rare genes, he was more important in the zoo breeding program than as a release candidate. Although he is now 12 years old, he has not yet been in a breeding pair. He has, however, been an excellent behavioral mentor to the chicks that have been sent to the wild to be released. He helps socialize the fledglings before they are sent to release sites by showing them how to interact and compete at food sites. A good bond between the members of the release cohort usually leads to a better chance of survival in the wild, and that all begins with their experience with the mentor. In the future, Meymey will be paired with a female to raise chicks of his own.
His name is a Chumash word that means, “to be soft.” If you visit the condor exhibit in Condor Ridge, Meymey is the condor wearing wing tag RED 38 on his right wing. His studbook number is 138.
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