California Condor Conservation


Posted at 4:09 pm October 20, 2008 by Yadira Galindo


One year after the Witch Creek wildfire burned the a condor breeding aviary at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, keepers Debbie Marlow and Sheila Murphy released a female California condor into the rebuilt facility. On Oct. 20, 2007 five California condors and two Andean condors were safely evacuated from the Wild Animal Park 12 hours before the fire burned through sections of the Park leaving the structure in piles of ash and melted metal. On Monday Ojja, the female condor, and her mate, Simerrye, were returned to their home along with an Andean condor pair and their 8-month-old chick.

First Look at Miracle Condor Chick

Posted at 4:03 pm October 8, 2008 by Yadira Galindo

High on the top of a burnt redwood tree sits a nest large enough to hold a California condor. The tree lays in the path of this summer’s devastating wildfire that scorched thousands of acres in Big Sur, California, and in this case condor territory. The fire threatened the three condor nests in the area, each with a chick. The nest in the redwood felt the most heat – literally. Two chicks were accounted for soon after the fire, but for several weeks condor biologists couldn’t get to the nest to see if the chick in the redwood tree had survived. The outlook looked grim when biologists saw the redwood tree from a helicopter, burned nearly to the top. The paths were impassable for quite some time, but when the parent condors returned to the nest it was a good sign. The field biologists were optimistic because the parents would not return to a nest if the chick was dead. Recently, biologists with the Ventana Wildlife Society and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service climbed the three and got their first look at the surviving chick – a miracle in the depth of a devastating wildfire.

Lead Claims Another Condor

Posted at 4:34 pm October 1, 2008 by Yadira Galindo

Condor No. 336 died of lead poisoning in September despite the efforts of wildlife biologists to save the 4-year-old bird. The loss of this bird to lead poisoning is tragic as she was just about to reach breeding age. The loss of even one California condor, when the population is just a little more than 330 birds, is devastating to the California Condor Recovery Program.

Wild Condors Recover

Posted at 1:12 pm September 26, 2008 by Yadira Galindo

Although two birds were lost during the summer wildfires in Big Sur, California, the rest of the birds survived and are being closely monitored by biologists with the Ventana Wildlife Society.

Meet a Marvelous Mentor: Itaxmay

Posted at 12:16 pm September 24, 2008 by Ron Webb

When people hear about California condors at a captive breeding facility, they understandably assume that all birds there are involved in breeding pairs, or are chicks waiting to be released to the wild. In actuality, one of the most important roles a captive condor can play is the job of mentor.

Walking on Egg Shells During Incubation

Posted at 9:56 am September 24, 2008 by Bird Keeper

Like the other ten California condor eggs laid this season, egg #0810 was pulled to artificial incubation so its progress could be closely monitored. On day 8 of incubation, the signs of a possible embryo malposition (upside-down, opposite of what is normal) were noted in the records.

Rebuild It and They Will Come

Posted at 12:47 pm September 23, 2008 by Bird Keeper

Exciting times with the Wild Animal Park’s condor conservation program! This year’s chicks are getting bigger and stronger, and the people doing the toughest work now are those rebuilding our burnt down facility. It took some time to get all the insurance issues and clean up taken care of, but since the construction started it has been going a thousand miles per hour.

Searching for Condors in Big Sur – Part II

Posted at 10:20 am September 23, 2008 by Yadira Galindo

Click here for part I.

On our second day in Big Sur, Calif. we traveled to the Ventana Wildlife Society’s base camp to meet the staff and see the damage from the summer wildfires. As we changed gears into 4×4, we began to see veins of vegetation surrounded by scorched earth or ash everywhere. How did the fire decide to burn this section but not the next? It moved like a river, meandering through the hillsides. Even in August, there was still ash several inches deep.

San Diego Zoo Donates Money to Condor Fire Relief Fund

Posted at 12:07 pm August 28, 2008 by admin

California Condor Rises from the Ashes

Posted at 9:33 am August 28, 2008 by Bird Keeper

It has been quite surreal and a nightmarish déjà vu for keepers here at the Wild Animal Park to see all that our Condor Partners from the Ventana Wildlife Society have been through in the last couple of months because of the Basin Fire in the Big Sur area.

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were walking through our incinerated Condor Facility after the Witch Creek fire, wondering a million and one “What Ifs” while at the same time feeling immensely thankful that were we able to get all our birds out in time. Read the rest of this entry »