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California Condor Born in Utah? Bodes Well for Reintroduction to Wild

Image: California Condor Born in Utah? Bodes Well for Reintroduction to Wild
In this March 2007 file photo, a rare and endangered California condor flies through Marble Gorge, east of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

By    |   Friday, 06 Jun 2014 03:27 PM

Utah’s Zion National Park may have a new California condor hatchling, which one park official called a “significant milestone” for the condor’s reintroduction to the wild.

Wildlife experts at the park haven’t yet seen the chick, but they believe a courtship ritual and feeding behavior of a California condor pair indicate they have bred, the Salt Lake City Tribune said.

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“This is a significant milestone in the process of restoring a species to its historical habitat," Keith Day, a wildlife biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said in a statement. "It proves that Utah still has suitable habitat for these magnificent birds and that the selection of the Arizona-Utah region for establishing a population was a valid choice."

A group of California condors was released into the wild in Arizona in the late 1990s, and they promptly moved north to Zion National Park, the Tribune said.

Despite some evidence these birds were breeding and even nesting, area biologists said there was no evidence an egg had hatched.

But at least one condor pair over the winter seemed to show “nesting and incubating behaviors,” and the Tribune said the adult birds are taking turns looking for food.

"The cavity is 1,000 feet above the canyon floor so no one has yet had direct observation of a chick. If the egg had not been viable, or if a hatchling had died, there would be no reason for the adult condor pair to continue to visit this cavity," Eddie Feltes, Condor Project manager for The Peregrine Fund, said in a release.

“The California condors have become a very charismatic species and have been captured in many vacation photos in our area’s national parks,” Fred Armstrong, of Zion National park, said in a news release. “Repeat visitors come to recognize them by their wing tag numbers and routinely ask about them. The park is excited to provide protected habitat for these magnificent birds and to play an important role in their recovery.”

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Utah's Zion National Park may have a new California condor hatchling, which one park official called a "significant milestone" for the condor's reintroduction to the wild.
california condor, born, utah
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2014-27-06
Friday, 06 Jun 2014 03:27 PM
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