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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Condor's Hope

Condor's Hope

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Tuesday, October 1, 2019/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, birds, sustainability, environment

                                       Fledged Condor chick at nest, Zion National Park (credit: NPS)

A California condor chick hatched, survived, and has now taken its first flight in Zion National Park. This special conservation event was just observed by park rangers and visitors. The successful fledging, and re-establishment of other condors elsewhere in Zion, is an example of how the Endangered Species Act, signed by President Nixon in 1973, has worked.

According to Zion managers, condors once flew over much of the Colorado Plateau but by 1982 their total wild population was 22 birds. These were captured to begin a captive breeding program by the Fish & Wildlife Service. Similar programs were begun to recover other endangered species like the peregrine falcon, black-footed ferret, and gray wolf listed as endangered species.

The California condor is a success story. Captive-bred birds were released in California, Baja California, and the Vermillion Cliffs of northern Arizona near the Grand Canyon over the past 30 years. These new condors are successfully breeding in these areas and Zion's fledgling can now be added. The young condor slowly increases the wild population in the western US.

   California condor fledged chick in Zion National Park (credit: St. George News)

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