Wednesday, October 17, 2018

California Condor Release at Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona

On September 22nd, National Public Lands Day, four condors were released by the Peregrine Fund atop the spectacular cliffs in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona. A friend was there and brought me a beautiful poster celebrating the event. She knew about my interest in condors from my book On the Brink of Extinction: The California Condor, which was written and published at the time of the first release of captive bred birds.The poster, now framed and hanging in my office, is a wonderful reminder of the success of the recovery program. Condors are still very endangered, but their numbers are increasing.
At the time I wrote On the Brink of Extinction (Harcourt, 1993) I worked with Michael Wallace, head of the Condor Recovery Program at the Los Angeles Zoo and whose photographs illustrate the book. Condors are now produced at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, the Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park and then transported to release sites annually for release to the wild.
The historical California Condor population declined to just 22 individuals in the 1980s when the greater California Condor Recovery Program was initiated to save the species from extinction.  As of July 25, 2018 there were 85 condors in the wild in the rugged canyon country of northern Arizona and southern Utah and the total world population of endangered California Condors numbers nearly 500 individuals, with more than half flying in the wilds of Arizona, Utah, California, and Mexico.
The Arizona-Utah recovery effort is a cooperative program by federal, state, and private partners, including The Peregrine Fund, Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management’s Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Kaibab and Dixie national forests among many other supporting groups and individuals.
For more information about California Condors in Arizona:
http://www.peregrinefund.org/condor

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