The first two fluffy California condor chicks of 2023 hatched last week at the Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation, marking the beginning of what looks to be another outstanding year in the effort to save this critically endangered species.
"The new chicks are both lively and eating a lot, which is a great sign," said Kelli Walker, a condor keeper at the Jonsson Center. "The parents are being attentive, and everyone is doing really well so far."
Since late January, condors at the Jonsson Center have been laying the groundwork for species recovery one egg at a time. In addition to the new hatchlings, several other fertile eggs have been laid this year and more chicks are expected soon.
The California condor was one of the original animals included on the 1973 Endangered Species Act and is classified as critically endangered. In 1982, only 22 individuals remained in the wild and by 1987, the last condors were brought into human care in an attempt to save the species from extinction. Thanks to recovery programs like the Oregon Zoo’s, the world’s California condor population now totals around 500 birds, most of which are flying free.
The Oregon Zoo’s condor recovery efforts take place at the Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation, located in rural Clackamas County on Metro-owned open land. The remoteness of the facility minimizes the exposure of young condors to people, increasing the chances for captive-hatched birds to survive and breed in the wild.
Upgrades and new equipment at the center have been made possible through continued support from the Avangrid Foundation and donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation, which supports the zoo’s efforts in advancing animal well-being, species recovery work and conservation education. To contribute, go to oregonzoo.org/give.
ore than 108 chicks have hatched at the Jonsson Center since 2003, and more than 73 Oregon Zoo-reared birds have gone out to field pens for release. Several eggs laid by Oregon Zoo condors have been placed in wild nests to hatch.
California condor breeding programs are also operated at San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, the Los Angeles Zoo and the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Idaho. For more information, visit oregonzoo.org/condors.
Source: Oregon Zoo