For Immediate Release
May 22, 2008
PORTLAND, Ore. — After a week of antibiotics and a blood transfusion from adult condor Nootka, Oregon Zoo staff is pleased to report that the newest zoo addition, an endangered California condor chick, has seemingly turned he corner and is getting stronger.
In the early hours of May 7, zoo staff worked feverishly to hatch the underweight and shell-bound bird. Monitoring the egg at the zoo’s Jonsson enter for Wildlife Conservation, keepers determined it would not be able to hatch alone. Fearing the chick would suffocate, they stepped in and helped, worst-case scenario for them. The chick was removed from the nesting room and immediately transferred to an indoor facility, where keepers broke away part of the shell and removed the chick.
“The hatch went well, but it was an extremely small chick, our lowest watch-weight yet,” said Shawn St. Michael, Oregon Zoo condor curator. “It is common for chicks to be pretty quiet for the first 24 hours after hatch. It’s an exhausting process. But we became concerned when this chick failed to perk up the way we would expect after his rest.”
St. Michael and condor keepers provided around-the-clock care, administering antibiotics and enlisting the help of an adult condor, Nootka, for a life-saving blood donation.
“Thanks to the hard work of our staff, this chick is looking good now, and we expect it will be just fine,” said St. Michael. “The chick will be puppet-reared by human foster parents and later mentored by another adult
The assisted hatch is the fourth successful hatch of 2008, with one more expected in early June.
To see a video of the condor chick’s dramatic assisted hatch, visit www.oregonzoo.org/VideoArchive/CondorHatch.htm
The Oregon Zoo’s condor recovery efforts take place at the Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation, located in rural Clackamas County on Metro-owned open space. The remoteness of the facility minimizes the exposure of young condors to people, increasing the chances for captive-hatched birds to survive and breed in the wild.
The Jonsson Center is currently home to 30 condors. The center has produced 15 eggs since it was established and 14 chicks have hatched.
In 2001, the Oregon Zoo became the third zoo in the nation to join the California Condor Recovery Program. California condor captive-breeding programs are also operated at San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, the Los Angeles Zoo and the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey. The Oregon Zoo was the recipient of The Wildlife Society’s Conservation Award for “creating the nation’s fourth California condor breeding facility” in April 2005.
For more information about the Oregon Zoo’s California condors, visit http://www.oregonzoo.org/Condors/index.htm. For Oregon Zoo condor biographies, visit http://www.oregonzoo.org/Condors/condorBios.htm.
Condors, the largest land birds in North America, have wingspans of up to 10 feet and weigh 18 to 30 pounds. They are highly intelligent and inquisitive, often engaging in play. During the Pleistocene Era, which ended about 10,000 years ago, condors’ range extended across much of North America. By 1940, that range had been reduced to the coastal mountains of Southern California, and in 1967 condors were added to the first federal list of endangered species. In 1987, the 17 condors remaining in the wild were brought into captivity and a captive-breeding program was developed.
The zoo is a service of Metro and is dedicated to its mission to inspire the community to create a better future for wildlife. Committed to conservation, the zoo is currently working to save Washington’s pygmy rabbits, Oregon silverspot butterflies, western pond turtles, Oregon spotted frogs and Kincaid’s lupine, in addition to California condors. Other projects include studies on black rhinos, Asian elephants, polar bears and bats.
The zoo opens at 9 a.m. daily and is located five minutes from downtown Portland, just off Highway 26. The zoo is also accessible by MAX light rail line. Zoo visitors are encouraged to ride MAX or take TriMet bus No. 63 to the Oregon Zoo. Visitors who take the bus or MAX receive $1 off zoo admission. Call TriMet Customer Service, 503-238-RIDE (7433), or visit www.trimet.org for fare and route information.
General admission is $9.75 (12-64), seniors $8.25 (65+), children $6.75 (3-11), and infants 2 and under are free; 25 cents of the admission price helps fund regional conservation projects through the zoo’s Future for Wildlife program. A parking fee of $1 per car is also required. Additional information is available at www.oregonzoo.org or by calling 503-226-1561.
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Oregon Zoo ̈ 4001 SW Canyon Rd. ̈ Portland, Oregon 97221 ̈ 503-226-1561
Contacts: Bill LaMarche 503-220-2448 (office) or 503-497-5812 (pager)
Linda D’Ae-Smith 503-220-5716 (office) or 503-441-7573 (pager)
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