San Diego Condor Breeding Program to Reach Milestone

Posted at 11:49 am April 1, 2009 by Yadira Galindo

FIRST CHICKS OF 2009 SEASON HATCH AT THE WILD ANIMAL PARK

SAN DIEGO - Beginning March 27, two California condor chicks hatched over the past few days and a third chick was beginning to emerge Wednesday at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park. The fourth chick to hatch will be the 150th California condor produced since the Wild Animal Park began breeding this critically endangered species 27 years ago.

At least seven chicks are expected to hatch in the next few of months. The first egg laid by a condor pair at the Park is artificially incubated. Condor keepers serve as foster parents using a condor puppet to raise the chicks. The parents then lay a second egg and raise that chick themselves.

This process has led to a very successful breeding and release program. The California condor was near extinction in the 1980s when the world population of this species hit a low of 22 individuals. All of the birds were placed into a breeding program that included the Wild Animal Park. Thanks to a multi-agency effort, today the condor population includes more than 320 birds; more than half of them have been released back into the California, Arizona and Mexico wilderness.

A new zip-line experience at the Park, Flightline, opens in April with one-third of profits directly benefiting the San Diego Zoo’s work saving the California condor. Flightline will take guests on a ride for 2/3 of a mile at 400 feet above Asian and African animal exhibits, allowing adventurers to mimic the experience of a bird in flight.

The California Condor Recovery Program is built upon a foundation of private and public partnerships. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service implements the recovery program in partnership with other U.S. and Mexican government agencies, the San Diego Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, The Peregrine Fund, Oregon Zoo, Chapultepec Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, Ventana Wilderness Society, among others.

The 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park is operated by the not-for-profit San Diego Zoo and includes a 900-acre native species reserve. The San Diego Zoo focuses on the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, engages in conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife, and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.

CONTACT: 619-685-3291
WEB SITE: http://www.sandiegozoo.org

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