Condor Emergency Fund Appeal

Posted at 7:05 am July 16, 2008 by admin

Lightening struck Big Sur on June 21 and ignited several wildfires in the Ventana wilderness that combined to become the Basin Complex Fires. Within 24 hours the wildfire cutoff the only access road to the Ventana Wildlife Society’s Condor Sanctuary where seven young condors, awaiting their release to the wild, and their adult “mentor” condor were being held in a remote field pen. The fire grew so rapidly that the US Coast Guard was called in for an emergency rescue by helicopter. Fortunately, all captive condors and staff scientists were evacuated just before the fire grew stronger and burned through the area.

Ventana Wildlife Society is the only not-for-profit organization releasing and managing condors in the wild in California. Your help is urgently needed at this time to help us overcome the setback of the fire and continue the momentum of restoring condors to their natural habitat.

As of today, our biologists have been able to track the radio signals from all but one of the 43 free-flying adult condors that VWS has surviving in the central California region. As for the newly hatched chicks, one of three wild nests was in a burned area, although we don’t yet know the fate of the chick inside. Two other nests were very near the fire but the chicks inside survived. On July 8, we were finally able to review the damages and determine that we lost all of the field pens in Big Sur for releasing the young condors along with important equipment.

Please consider making a generous gift to the Condor Emergency Fund at VWS. With your partnership, we can replace our lost equipment and supplies and support our biologists and loyal volunteers at this challenging time. In the months ahead, we will rebuild the condor release program as well as protect and maintain the health and safety of the wild flock in Big Sur. You can help us now by going to or calling toll-free 877-897-7740 and pledging your support.

As a member, you will receive continued updates on the progress the California condors as well as our other projects to protect and restore wildlife and their habitats. It is thanks to the past generosity of our supporters and to partnerships with other dedicated organizations that visitors from all over the world now see wild condors soaring above the mountains of Big Sur. Our vision is to see this flock grow and prosper so it becomes permanent and self-sustaining – and no longer endangered.

Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director

Ventana Wildlife Society

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