I am please to spread the news about the recovery of the California Condor Gymnogyps californianus--a species previously at the verge of extinction. This large bird is 45-55 inches tall and weigh 17-25 Lbs. The wing-span--open wings is 9.5 feet (2.89 m) in the categorized within the New World Vultures. To learn more about the California Condor biology visit the CACO California Condor Recovery Program /California Condor Restoration. Biologist from the CACO program say that the condor is intelligent and playful. They have learn a lot about the species through human-condor interactions.
Condors as other vultures feed or dead or still matter. The California condor forages along side beaches and grasslands. It perches on large trees and human made structures. It nests mostly on the cliffs, but perhaps it used have a greater variety of nesting sites and habitats before its range was restricted. Its population range comprised from British Columbia to Northern Mexico--at the times of Clark Lewis explorations (1940s). Nowadays, the birds still forage in an area of approximately 150 miles (241 Km) but it is found in the wild mostly in California.
Susceptibility: condors feeding along the ocean are still eating a derivates of ,1,1-trichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl) ethane, best know as DDT a pesticide that thin the shell of their eggs. DDT is currently banned inthe use but the birds continue to suffer from its effects because the chemical is allowed elsewhere as a control of mosquitoes. Because DDT was link to acid rain and also because of its effects on wildlife, in particular birds. Ecologist Rachel Carson reported the thinning of the eggs and mass mortality of birds in the book Silent Spring (1962). DDT is also a likely human carcinogen (US Environmental Protection Agency). Because hatching in the wild was very low (15%), the eggs are now collected and incubated. Collection/incubation have increased hatching success to 70% . The majority of birds are rise and trained in captivity for future releases to the wild. We ought these success the US Fish & Wildlife, The CACO program. Other organizations involved are the Oregon Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Ventana Wildlife Society, The Peregrine Fund, and Audubon.
Other issues affecting condor population: loss of habitat, human expansion, heavy metal pollution, water pollution. A few cases of shot animals had been reported too. In addition the condors have eaten lead bullets that also weaken or poison them. The low variability in the species gene pool, because of the previous crash is also a potential limitation.
Currently there are close to 400 California condors and about 180 of them are in the wild.
What can you do?
These magnificent birds still need your support. You can inform others about the different projects to restore their populations. You can inform others about how lead ammunition and pesticide pollution affect them. You could also request their protection. You could tell hunters to leave carcases for them to feed on. Finally you could get directly involved through volunteering opportunities or by donating to Organizations that work on this or other species recovery.
Lets rise awareness about endangered or threatened species!
See more news about the California Condor:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: California Condor Profile
Oregon Zoo, Portland OR, California Condor Conservation
Ventana Wildlife Society: Condor Videos
Peregrine Fund: California Condor Restoration
Audubon California: what can you do to help condors
Populations of California Condor Are Increasing
What is DDT:
Learn more about DDT and its effects for human health and wildlife