The Oregon Zoo's Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation recently welcomed eight new California condor chicks, marking a significant step forward in the recovery of this critically endangered species. With so few California condors left in the world, each bird is incredibly valuable.
These chicks will stay with their parents for at least eight months before being moved to pre-release pens for about a year. Eventually, they will join free-flying condors in California and Arizona. One of the chicks hatched this season participated in a groundbreaking research project. While the care staff kept its egg warm in an incubator, its parents sat on a high-tech dummy egg.
This allowed researchers to measure various factors such as turn rate, temperature, and movement of the egg. They also recorded the audio of the condor parents' breathing and heartbeats. This information will be incredibly useful in understanding the precise conditions for rearing healthy chicks and contributing to condor recovery efforts.
The California condor was included in the 1973 Endangered Species Act and is classified as critically endangered. In the 1980s, when only 22 individuals remained in the wild, the last condors were brought into human care to save the species from extinction. Today, thanks to recovery programs like the one at the Oregon Zoo, there are around 500 California condors, with most of them flying freely.
The Oregon Zoo's condor recovery efforts take place at the Jonsson Center, located in rural Clackamas County. The remote location ensures minimal exposure of young condors to humans, increasing their chances of survival in the wild.
The center has been able to make upgrades and obtain new equipment thanks to support from the Avangrid Foundation and donations to the Oregon Zoo Foundation. To protect this species and others facing extinction, it is crucial to continue supporting conservation efforts. This includes preserving their natural habitats, implementing effective conservation strategies, and raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity and wildlife conservation.
We also need to address the root causes of extinction, such as habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. By taking collective action and making conscious choices to protect the environment, we can ensure a future for all endangered species like the California condor.
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