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California Condor Populations Bouncing Back in the Wild

California Condor

Population of North America's largest bird making progress is starting to make progress. 

Things are looking good for one of the rarest birds in North America, as there were more California Condors born than those that died last year.

Two of the 12 condor deaths last year are attributed to lead poisoning as a result of the animals eating animals shot with lead bullets. CBS San Francisco is reporting the good news is that 14 young condors were hatched and took flight last year with the help of captive breeding programs in Idaho, Oregon, and California.

"That's an indication that the program is succeeding," said Eric Davis. He is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's coordinator of the program that has been working since the 1980s to try and restore a wild population. When the programs began, there were only 22 left. Now there are 435 total between captivity and the wild.

But there's more good news for North America's largest bird, an animal whose wingspans can approach 10 feet. Approximately 20 to 40 birds are released into the wild each year, most coming from the main breeding program in Boise.

While 167 of the birds alive right now are in the breeding program in captivity, officials are starting to see more of the animals being reared in the wild. They counted 27 nests in total from California to the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. There are also nests along the border of Arizona and Utah and in three National Parks including Grand Canyon, Zion, and Pinnacles.

Officials were also able to place two eggs laid in captivity into wild nests where chicks could be raised by wild birds. They replaced damaged or infertile eggs already in the nests. "We hope that wild birds start producing more chicks, and that is what is happening more and more," Davis said.

With a lifespan of around 60 years, things are definitely looking up for the California Condor right now as officials continue to work to save this rare species.


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California Condor Populations Bouncing Back in the Wild