The California condor is considered to be a critically endangered species. However, the conservation efforts to save this bird have ramped up in a positive way.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have expressed their plans to hopefully begin releasing a small number of condors into the Redwood National Park on an annual basis.
This exciting new initiative is planned to begin in the fall. The condors have not lived in the wild for about a century, so this creation of a “nonessential experimental population” project happening in Northern California is definitely a big step.
As the San Francisco Chronicle reported, the undertaking has plans to release between four to six juvenile condors each year over the coming 20 years.
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The Yurok Tribe is the driving force behind the conservation project. As the director of the wildlife department for the tribe, Tiana Williams-Claussen, shared with the media outlet, “Certainly within a year, we hope to have birds in the sky.”
Paul Souza, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California-Great Basin Region, said, “The California condor is a shining example of how a species can be brought back from the brink of extinction through the power of partnerships.”
Stafford Lehr, deputy director of wildlife and fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife added that the department is looking forward to the opportunity to help bring back these birds to their native California habitat.
As the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has explained, thousands of years ago, the California condors were once very prevalent throughout not only the Pacific Northwest region, but Texas, Florida, and even New York as well. However, by the time the 1900s came around, their population had diminished a great deal, becoming restricted to mainly the southern area of California.
The biggest reason for their plummeting numbers? Lead poisoning. Since these birds are scavengers, they would often eat the dead animals that had been shot and killed by humans. The National Park Service shared that many of these animals’ carcasses contained bullet fragments, which often held extremely high levels of lead. However, since July 2019, California has banned the use of lead ammunition.
The conservation efforts to save the California condor began in the 1980s after researchers discovered that there were only 23 California condors living in the wild. As a result, it took them a decade to round up and capture the remaining condors who were put into captivity breeding programs to boost numbers.
Now, there are more than 300 California condors living in the wild. Hopefully, their numbers will continue to rise.Whizzco